Tuesday, November 3 is Election Day, and this is your last chance to vote in state and federal elections. Did Election Day sneak up on you? You’re not alone! There may still be time to cast a ballot in your state through same-day registration and in-person voting at your local polling location. Click here to learn more about your state: https://www.eac.gov/voters/register-and-vote-in-your-state
While we’ve been saturated with news for months about the high-profile races for the White House, the Senate and others, it’s the measures further down the ballot that open doors for truly meaningful change. Elected officials and candidates are rarely at the forefront of revolutionary policies. But when the people use their collective voice to support important new ideas, we drive progress, and our elected leaders are pushed to evolve.
So don’t stop at the top! Here are some important state and local ballot initiatives that Dr. Bronner’s is supporting that make voting all the way down your ballot critical this year:
Oregon Measure 109 – Yes for Psilocybin Therapy
This year’s ballot in Oregon features two groundbreaking initiatives. The first is Measure 109, which would create legal access to regulated psilocybin therapy. Psilocybin, the active ingredient in “magic” mushrooms, is a plant medicine with incredible potential to help Oregonians suffering from depression, anxiety, addiction, and other mental health issues. Measure 109 would direct the state to create a licensed system of trained facilitators who can administer psilocybin in a therapeutic setting and with careful guard rails. This initiative in Oregon can set a precedent for healing hearts and minds that is likely to be repeated in other states and around the world.
Oregon Measure 110 – More Treatment for a Better Oregon
The second exciting ballot initiative in Oregon is Measure 110, which would end the criminalization of drug possession and redirect resources into addiction treatment and recovery services. Oregon authorities still arrest nearly 9,000 people a year for simple drug possession, punishing them instead of offering drug treatment. Many others struggling with addiction don’t seek treatment for fear of being arrested. Measure 110 will greatly expand access to drug treatment and recovery services throughout the state, using funds from Oregon’s existing marijuana tax. This initiative would have a huge impact on Oregonians – Oregon’s Criminal Justice Commission says it would result in drops of 86% to 94% in drug convictions for racial and ethnic minorities – and it would drive forward a critical national conversation about our failed approach to drug policy.
California Proposition 15 – Schools and Communities First
Prop. 15 in California would close property tax loopholes on commercial properties that currently benefit wealthy corporations while shortchanging schools and local communities. Closing these loopholes will reclaim billions of dollars to invest in schools, as well as community services like public health, firefighters and first responders, and safe drinking water. Prop. 15 asks wealthy corporations to pay their fair share, while cutting small business taxes and exempting homeowners and renters. A record-breaking 1.7 million people signed the petition to put Prop. 15 on the ballot in California.
Learn more: https://www.yes15.org/volunteer.
Colorado Proposition 118 – Colorado Families First
At some point, almost everyone will have a health emergency, a newborn baby, or a seriously ill family member. We shouldn’t ask people to choose between paying their bills and taking care of themselves or their families. Colorado Prop. 118 would create an affordable paid family and medical leave program, which provides up to 12 weeks of paid leave. The program is designed so that businesses with fewer than 10 employees pay nothing, but their employees are still covered. Similar programs have already been implemented in California, Washington, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Hawaii, and Oregon.
Mississippi Initiative 65 – Medical Marijuana 2020
After years of attempting to pass a bill legalizing medical marijuana through the legislature, only to be consistently blocked, the Medical Marijuana 2020 coalition collected 228,000 signatures from Mississippians to put this initiative on the ballot. Not long after, the legislature mobilized to put a much weaker “alternative” measure – called Alternative 65A – on the ballot as well. While Initiative 65 lays out a carefully designed medical marijuana program, Alternative 65A leaves nearly every detail of medical marijuana execution up to the legislature, with no assurance that they’ll truly follow through.
Montana Constitutional Initiative 118/Statutory Initiative 190 – New Approach Montana
Montanans have the opportunity to legalize marijuana for adult use in their state and direct a large portion of the resulting sales tax revenue toward critical conservation measures that support both their environment and their economy. Other proceeds will be invested in veterans services, substance abuse treatment, long-term health care, and municipal services. The tricky part in Montana is that voters must vote to approve adult-use legalization (I-190) AND vote to amend the constitution to say an “adult” is someone 21 or older for the purposes of cannabis legalization (CI-118). (Montana’s constitution defines an “adult” as someone 18 or older.) If legalization passes without the constitutional amendment, the Montana legislature will have an opening to come in and quash the entire program.
South Dakota Amendment A and Measure 26 – South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws
South Dakota is taking a holistic approach to reform their marijuana laws, creating both a well-designed medical marijuana system and laying the groundwork for an adult-use legalization system that can contribute to the state’s coffers and improve public health and safety. The two initiatives are tightly interwoven to protect patients’ access to medicine and fix the state’s broken marijuana laws, and both need to pass in order for the process to be successful. South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws has built up an impressive homegrown, grassroots campaign over years of advocacy and person-to-person testimony on the need for reform.
California Propositions 25, 17, and 20
Prop. 25 would eliminate the cash bail system in California, which currently favors the wealthy and disproportionately harms those who can’t afford to pay. Prop. 17 restores voting rights – one of the most sacred privileges of citizenship – to those who have been released from prison and put on parole. Prop. 20 would undo important criminal justice reform efforts that Californians have passed in prior years, reversing efforts toward decreasing the prison population.
These are just a handful of the many policy issues that will be decided by state and local ballot initiative this year. Do your research, do your part, and vote all the way down the ballot. Together we can keep moving our country toward justice and healing.