Mapping pot legalization politics: Not just red vs. blue

Smoking marijuana

NEW YORK (AP) – A setback for marijuana advocates in New Jersey may show that the path of legalizing recreational marijuana use doesn’t necessarily run along blue state-red state lines.

Democrat-led New Jersey could still become the 11th state to legalize the drug, though a state Senate vote was abruptly put off Monday because it didn’t have enough support.

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The delay is a reminder that the politics of pot legalization aren’t purely partisan. Experts say the key question instead can be whether voters or legislators are making the decision.

Nine of the 10 states that have legalized recreational marijuana did so through voter referendums – not through their legislatures.

Experts say one reason is that voters are usually presented with more general propositions, while legislators likely have to weigh more details – and political considerations.