A member of the Pinellas County canvassing board processes ballots on election day in Largo, Florida, U.S. November 3, 2020.

U.S. voters pushed to legalize marijuana, blocked a ban on abortion and took steps to atone for the country’s checkered past, even as most eyes were focused on the presidential race. 

Four more U.S. states will legalize marijuana after voters backed ballot initiatives in their favour on Tuesday.   

New Jersey, Arizona and Montana will join just 11 other states plus the District of Columbia in allowing recreational use of the drug, while South Dakota scored a rare double, going from a state that did not allow any consumption of marijuana to one where it will soon be legal for both medical and recreational purposes. 

The legalization of marijuana has seen major momentum since Colorado and Washington became the first two states to allow it for recreational purposes in 2012. 

Mississippi also approved use of the drug for people with debilitating medical conditions.

Meanwhile, Oregon became the first state to legalize psilocybin mushrooms – better known as magic mushrooms – for mental health therapy. 

Another Oregon initiative that passed will decriminalize possession of certain drugs in small amounts, as well as set up a state-funded drug addiction treatment and recovery program – the first state to do this. 

Some 120 initiatives were on ballots in 32 states, with voting rights, abortion and racial justice among some of the thornier issues for consideration.   

Voters in Louisiana came out overwhelmingly in favour of adding language to their state constitution that would make clear that it does not protect the right to abortion. In Colorado, however, they blocked an attempt to ban abortions after 22 weeks.  


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