As you likely know there’s a big important U.S. mid-term election happening next week (Tuesday, November 8th) with a lot riding on it. Yes, from my new home in southern Europe I am encouraging you to vote! I did just that from abroad last month; I may live in Portugal these days but I’m still an American and it’s my privilege to exercise my right to vote. And it’s your privilege too!
I could go into what’s at stake chapter and verse. But we have a sharp and informed community here – so you’re likely up to speed with all that’s happening and likely making plans to complete your ballot and hand it in, regardless of my nudging.

Then There’s the Cannabis Vote

And when it comes to cannabis, voters in five states – 4 of them very conservative: Arkansas, Missouri and North and South Dakota, will be voting on whether to legalize cannabis for “adult use” (the grown-up name for what used to be called “recreational cannabis”). The 5th state, Maryland, which will also be voting on it, is a political oddball with a deeply democratic state legislature and a Republican governor.

As of right now, 19 other states have already legalized adult use cannabis (plus Washington D.C). According to NORML, most states that have legalized the adult use of cannabis have done it through citizen-initiated ballot measures. Why is that you ask? Because their state legislatures and governors (overwhelmingly Republican) have mostly dragged their feet on moving forward with legalization.
And even when voters robustly say “Yes!” to adult use cannabis, state governments have played all kinds of games to avoid giving the legalization its full due. For instance, in South Dakota in 2020, residents passed adult use by 54% only to have the state Supreme Court nullify the victory.
So interestingly, activists have to get very clever in how they present the initiatives to dodge lawmakers’ efforts to poke holes in what voters have resoundingly said they’ve wanted. Personally, I know this as well because in Florida, where I moved from, the deeply red state (with uber-conservative legislature and governor) kept trying (and continue trying) to dilute the will of the voters regarding this plant medicine.

The will of the voters

At this point, two-thirds of Americans (that’s a 66% majority!) say, according to a CBS News poll, that they want adult use cannabis in their own state and under federal law! This is about adult use where you can walk into a dispensary and order up what you want without needing any kind of “medical card.”
So regardless of whether you’re in one of those 5 states with the cannabis ballot initiative, get thee to the ballot box/voting precinct or whatever and let your voice be heard. If state governments move further toward the conservative right, we might be kissing our right to cannabis (and a whole lot of other freedoms) goodbye.
I don’t want this to devolve into political sniping but if you have some words of wisdom to offer, please drop down to the comments section and let me know. I always love hearing from you.

With Love,

Becca

P.S. Alas, Portugal is a bit behind the times on this front. Possession and consumption of cannabis are not considered offenses under the law in this country but selling it remains a criminal offense. In other words I can’t simply stroll into a dispensary (because there aren’t any) and purchase flower. Anybody who want the plant has to connect with underground sources – and there’s no shortage of them!  What a pity because, as one of Europe’s poorest countries, imagine the tax revenue the country could be bringing in!
One of Portugal’s latest official residents! Here’s little ole me at a Foreign Service and Borders branch in Portugal celebrating the residency permit I landed last week. 
However, as an official new resident of Portugal, I’m now looking forward to connecting with the groups advocating for legalization so I can add my support to moving the conversation forward.