I’ve never been mistaken for being a “half glass full” kinda guy. My initial instinct upon receiving new information is to try and pick it apart and determine how and why I’m being fed BS.

Covering political betting rewards my most pessimistic instincts far more often than not. Americans have lot of reasons to be distrusting, if not disgusted by, the country’s leadership.

  • The “most important presidential election ever” came down to two corrupt septuagenarians – one of which will be the oldest president-elect in US history – of questionable mental health;
  • the country’s response to the pandemic was a joke and one of the worst in the world; and
  • after authorities shut down the economy to deal with the outbreak, — costing tens-of-millions of workers their jobs — the government tossed everyone $1,200 and told them “good luck,” leaving them to fend for themselves.

None of the things listed will get better any time soon, regardless of who wins next week’s election.

Fortunately, some local governments have come up with an alternative for making meaningful improvements in their constituents’ material conditions.

States continue to discover what human beings realized millennia ago:

When you can’t change the conditions in which you find yourself, change how you perceive them!

That’s right – the answer is Drugs! If we’re going to be stuck on this sinking ship, we might as well enjoy the ride!

All across the United States, legalization initiatives are on the ballot! And not just weed; some states are on to bigger and better things – more specifically, psilocybin (or “magic”) mushrooms!

Naturally, our friends over at MyBookie noticed the many drug-related measures on state ballots this year and set betting lines on their outcomes. Now we can all participate, even if we don’t get to vote on these matters.

So, toke up, gobble down some ‘shrooms, throw on some Peruvian icaros – or your favorite shamanic/psychedelic music — and let’s get started on these wagers while we’re all seeing straight.
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Disclaimer:

I shouldn’t need to say this, but obviously, I’m just having fun with the spirit of the material and do not encourage you to do drugs. At least not without a doctor’s note or whatever. Also, my publishers give me an almost-unimaginable amount of freedom and didn’t ask me to write this. Still, I should add that the views and opinions expressed on this page, as always, are my own.

Recreational Marijuana Ballot Measures

Over the past couple of decades, marijuana legalization has become commonplace. The medical use of cannabis (requires doctor’s approval) is legal in “33 states, four out of five permanently inhabited US territories, and the District of Columbia.”

Fourteen more states have passed statutes that approve access to cannabis with limited THC levels (the psychoactive component of the plant) to allow for the use of CBD products.

The ballot measures discussed here will decide whether Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota will join the eleven states that have already legalized the recreational use of marijuana.

Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia have legal recreational cannabis.

What makes this year’s candidates for weed legalization interesting is that 75% of them are historically conservative states. I suspect it signals changing attitudes towards marijuana – morally, not just in terms of potential tax profits.


Recreational Marijuana Voted Legal in Arizona

  • Matchup Odds
  • Yes on AZ Prop 207 -190
  • No on AZ Prop 207 +145

Arizona’s Prop 207 will put recreational use of marijuana on the ballot for a second consecutive general election. The 2016 effort fell 67,000 votes short.

2020’s Smart and Safe Arizona Act would legalize the use and possession of up to an ounce of pot for adults 21 and older. Arizona residents would also be allowed to grow between six and 12 plants in their homes (depending on # occupants) for personal use.

What’s on the Ballot? (via Ballotpedia.org)

Proposition 207 would:

  • “legalize the possession and use of marijuana for adults (age 21 years or older) in Arizona. Individuals would be permitted to grow no more than six marijuana plants in their residences, as long as the plants are within a lockable enclosed area and beyond public view.”
  • “Place a 16 percent tax on marijuana sales, in addition to the existing transaction privilege tax and use tax. Revenue from the tax would be divided between community college districts; municipal police, sheriff, and fire departments; fire districts; the state’s Highway User Revenue Fund, and a new Justice Reinvestment Fund.”
  • “Allow anyone convicted of certain marijuana-related crimes related to possession, consumption, cultivation, and transportation to petition for the expungement of their criminal record starting on July 12, 2021.”

The passing of Prop 207 is favored, according to MyBookie’s oddsmakers.

Arizona was a longtime Republican stronghold but is trending blue in recent years. Joe Biden is even expected to win the crucial battleground.

Beyond Arizona’s electorate becoming more liberal in general, the campaign in favor of Prop 207 is more organized and robust than previous efforts to legalize.

Advocates for marijuana legalization say the act adopted language from successful legislation passed by other states – only, with the benefit of having their challenges and experiences from which to learn. 2016’s failed ballot initiative also inspired vital changes.

A Monmouth University poll released on October 15 shows support for Prop 207 growing among Arizonans just before the election. The results show 56 percent of registered voters supporting Smart and Safe’s passage, to only 36 percent against.

That’s a 5% swing from September’s poll reporting 51 percent for legalization versus 41 percent against. The election’s high turnout is also said to improve the probability that weed is legalized in Arizona next week.

I’m betting “Yes on AZ Prop 207” at –190.


Recreational Marijuana Voted Legal in NJ

  • Matchup Odds
  • Yes on NJ Public Question 1 -300
  • No on NJ Public Question 1 +200

New Jersey’s Question 1 is the first legalization attempt that was referred to voters by a state legislature. It was added to the ballot by a resolution passed in December and was strongly supported by legislative Democrats (72 of 79) but only five Republicans.

What’s on the Ballot? (via Ballotpedia.org)

  • “Question 1 would add an amendment to the state constitution that legalizes the recreational use of marijuana, also known as cannabis, for persons age 21 and older and legalizes the cultivation, processing, and sale of retail marijuana. The constitutional amendment would take effect on January 1, 2021. New Jersey would be the first state in the Mid-Atlantic to legalize marijuana.”
  • “The five-member Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC), which was first established to oversee the state’s medical-marijuana program, would be responsible for regulating the cultivation, processing, and sale of recreational marijuana.”
  • “Question 1 would apply the state sales tax (6.625 percent) to recreational marijuana but prohibit additional state sales taxes. The state Legislature would be authorized to allow local governments to enact an additional 2 percent sales tax on recreational marijuana.”

I’m not going to spend too much time on New Jersey because the amendment is almost sure to pass.

In the latest polls, New Jersey voters support weed legalization by an approximately 2-to-1 margin.

New Jersey leans heavily in favor of Democrats, whose candidates have won the Garden State in seven consecutive presidential elections, starting in 1992. They also own significant majorities in the NJ State Senate and NJ General Assembly.

Beyond merely appealing to imbibers and leftists, cannabis advocates in New Jersey have framed legalization as a social justice issue, extending the issue’s reach into communities less moved by the usual arguments. Even members of the clergy are behind the constitutional amendment.

“Outdated cannabis laws have held our communities back for far too long. One cannabis arrest under current law can make it difficult for someone to find a job or housing for the rest of their life, and I’ve seen this happen to too many people,” said Rev. Kenneth Clayton, senior pastor at St. Luke Baptist Church.

“Our laws disproportionately affect communities of color and legalization has the potential to remove unfairly harsh punishments now suffered by entire families,” Clayton added.

Even at –300 moneyline odds, I have to back “Yes on NJ Public Question 1.”

Will NJ Public Question 1 Pass?


Recreational Marijuana Voted Legal In South Dakota

  • Matchup Odds
  • Yes on SD Constitutional Amendment A +120
  • No on SD Constitutional Amendment A -160

Things get slightly less optimistic in South Dakota, where Constitutional Amendment A will be voted on this Tuesday.

Its ballot description describes the measure as, “An amendment to the
South Dakota Constitution to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana; and to require the Legislature to pass laws regarding hemp as well as laws ensuring access to marijuana for medical use.”

South Dakota’s amendment is the only race covered by MyBookie in which the side backing the legalization initiative passing is the underdog. Regardless, at +120, the race is close enough to go either way.

Recreational weed got on the ballot thanks to the state’s former district attorney, Brendan Johnson. The movement’s supporters submitted over 50,000 signatures in favor of the measure, 36,707 (73%) of which were deemed “valid.”

What’s on the Ballot? (via Ballotpedia.org)

  • “Amendment A would legalize the recreational use of marijuana for individuals 21 years old and older. Individuals would be allowed to possess or distribute up to one ounce of marijuana. The amendment would require the South Dakota State Legislature to pass laws providing for a program for medical marijuana and the sale of hemp by April 1, 2022.”
  • “Individuals who live in a jurisdiction with no licensed retail stores could grow up to three marijuana plants in a private residence in a locked space, though not more than six marijuana plants could be kept in one residence at a time.”
  • “Under the amendment, marijuana sales would be taxed at 15%. After the tax revenue is used by the Revenue Department to cover costs associated with implementing the amendment, 50% of the remaining revenue would be appropriated to fund state public schools and 50% would be deposited in the state’s general fund.”

Amendment A could face trouble due to a second related measure on the ballot.

Initiated Measure 26 would “establish a medical marijuana program in South Dakota for individuals with a debilitating medical condition.”

Human’s by-and-large appreciate compromise.

I suspect voters who would otherwise support recreational marijuana if faced with an “all or nothing” choice will feel comfortable opposing the amendment. Backing the lesser option, legalizing “medical” use, will become the “moderate” perspective.

It’s somewhat reflected in the polls already.

A telephone poll conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy showed South Dakotan’s overwhelmingly support Initiated Measure 26. 74% of the survey’s 600 respondents want medical marijuana.

The approval rating for full-fledged recreational weed is less than emphatic. Only 51% of the registered voters polled said they support SD Constitutional Amendment A — 44% oppose, 5% remain undecided.

I think the attempt to legalize recreational use of marijuana is doomed by the presence of Initiated Measure 26 on the ballot. I’m picking “No on Constitutional Amendment A” at –160.

Will SD Constitutional Amendment A Pass?


Recreational Marijuana Voted Legal in Montana

  • Matchup Odds
  • Yes on MT I-190 -120
  • No on MT I-190 -120

Medical marijuana has been legal in Montana since 2004, albeit with such tight restrictions, access to the medicine was severely limited. In 2016, voters repealed Senate Bill 423, which previously “banned medical marijuana advertisements, limited dispensaries to three users, and required state review of doctors who prescribe marijuana to more than 25 patients per year.”

If you’re betting on “Yes,” the recent electoral success of the pro-weed side is encouraging.

What’s on the Ballot? (via Ballotpedia.org)

  • “Initiative 190 would legalize the possession and use of one ounce or less of marijuana or 8 grams or less of marijuana concentrate by persons over the age of 21 in Montana. It would allow individuals to grow no more than four marijuana plants and four seedlings for personal use in their residence, as long as the plants are within an enclosed area with a lock and beyond public view. Montana residents would be allowed to possess, use, and grow marijuana on January 1, 2021. ”
  • “Marijuana and marijuana-infused products would be taxed at 20% of the retail price. After deducting any administrative costs incurred by the department to enforce the initiative, the tax revenue would be allocated to the general fund, conservation programs, veterans programs, drug addiction treatment programs, local authorities enforcing the initiative, and healthcare workers.”
  • “Under Initiative 190, persons serving marijuana-related sentences that are no longer crimes under the initiative or have a lesser punishment may request to be resentenced or have the conviction expunged depending on the circumstances.”

However, Montana’s medical marijuana dispensaries are hesitant about expanding access to recreational users. Their concerns could resonate with local voters.

Michaela Schager, owner of a family-owned medical marijuana dispensary in Missoula, is concerned about the local market being devoured by massive conglomerates. Medical facilities get dibs on the earliest recreational business licenses, which may delay the rush of outside competition, but only for the first year.

“These out-of-state conglomerates are going to provide a lot of competition down the road,” Schager acknowledged. “At some point, that is going to be a formidable concern.”

Polling says Montanans are willing to take that chance and confront those issues down the road.

  • Montana State University’s latest poll from early October showed legalization leading by 10 points, 49 to 39%.
  • Despite the healthy margin, 12% of voters are undecided and could swing this initiative in either direction.

I’m going to assume the entirety of Montana’s undecided population isn’t going to oppose recreational marijuana. Weed advocates got a big win in 2016, and after relaxing the prohibitive restrictions, the state is still standing.

Voters will embrace the momentum and pass legalize cannabis for recreational use.

Take “Yes” on Montana’s I-190 passing at -120 moneyline.

Psilocybin Mushroom Measures

‘Shroom Preface

The betting markets in this section speak to what I was talking about in Montana. I know “slippery slope” arguments are considered a logical fallacy, but everything always escalates. There’s always a push to determine how far a path society is willing to go before reversing the momentum and starting the gradual push in the other direction.

While most of the country is still debating over weed and its range of legal classifications, the original trailblazers themselves are leading the vanguard into the next great battle in the War on the War on Drugs – an effort to end mass incarceration for non-violent crimes and expand access to alternative medical treatments.

Psilocybin approved for Medical Use in Oregon

  • Matchup Odds
  • Yes on OR Measure 109 -160
  • No on OR Measure 109 +120

On Tuesday, Oregon will vote on Measure 190, which would legalize and regulate therapeutic uses of psilocybin, the hallucinogenic ingredient associated most closely with “magic mushrooms.”

What’s on the Ballot? (via Ballotpedia.org)

  • “Measure 109 would create a program for administering psilocybin products, such as psilocybin-producing mushrooms and fungi, to individuals aged 21 years or older. As of 2020, the manufacturing and consumption of psilocybin is illegal under both federal law and state law.”
  • “Clients would be allowed to purchase, possess, and consume psilocybin at a psilocybin service center and under the supervision of a psilocybin service facilitator after undergoing a preparation session.”
  • “Under Initiative 190, persons serving marijuana-related sentences that are no longer crimes under the initiative or have a lesser punishment may request to be resentenced or have the conviction expunged depending on the circumstances.”
  • “Under Measure 109, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) would determine who is eligible to be licensed as a facilitator, determine what qualifications, education, training, and exams are needed, and create a code of professional conduct for facilitators. OHA would set psilocybin dosage standards and labeling and packaging rules.”

An important distinction to note for this wager is that they’re not voting on recreational use. The ballot measure outlines a highly structured, closely supervised psychological treatment option.

The FDA designated the hallucinogen as a “breakthrough treatment” for severe depression.

With depression levels on the rise, I think even a good majority of conservative voters will be open to allowing experts to administer the natural hallucinogenic “drug,” even if its reputation as a “drug” could be mildly controversial to a small minority.

Oregon is a uniquely liberal state.

They were super early on weed, and they’ll be near the head of the pack on psychedelic psychological treatments too. Plus, the language of the measure outlines a thorough and comprehensive program for administering psilocybin.

It’s not the same as “weed doctors” handing out medical licenses to everyone who wanted to smoke pot.

People will be administered the medication under the direct supervision of trained service providers. There are also requirements written to set dosage standards, a prerequisite preparation session before receiving treatment, and call for a “code of professional conduct for facilitators.”

There’s no way Oregonians shut this down! I’m all-in on “Yes for Measure 109” passing at –160.


Psilocybin Removed From Schedule 1 Drugs in DC

  • Matchup Odds
  • Yes on DC Initiative 81+200
  • No on DC Initiative 81 -300

Another push for improved access to psychedelic forms of cognitive therapy is taking place in Washington DC, where activists are approaching the fight from a different angle.

“force local police to deprioritize the enforcement of laws against the non-commercial cultivation, distribution, possession, and use of “entheogenic plants and fungi,” and ask prosecutors to also drop cases related to these same substances.”

If passed, “species of plants and fungi that contain ibogaine, dimethyltryptamine, mescaline, psilocybin, or psilocyn” will be decriminalized.”

The initiative is being framed to the public as first being a police reform bill.

Shroom dispensaries won’t start springing up on the corners; possession of psychedelics will just be reclassified as the lowest law enforcement priority, and the attorney general will be prevented from prosecuting it.

As for wagering on this election outcome, there’s unfortunately been minimal polling done on this issue. The one survey for which we have results was commissioned by the campaign backing the initiative. Their data must be taken with the utmost skepticism, but the poll allegedly found roughly 60% support for decriminalization.

The DC betting line presents an excellent opportunity to pick the underdog, “Yes,” and its higher payout.

The presidential election is generating significantly higher voter turnout, which is usually positive for liberals. DC has also been open to drug-related ballot measures, historically. District voters passed an initiative allowing medical marijuana in 1998 and legalized recreational use in 2014.

In the past, Congress created hurdles prohibiting access to weed, rendering some of the earlier measures useless for a time. However, we’re just betting on Initiative 81 passing, not whether it’s ever implemented.

I’m picking the “Yes” result at +200 odds, expecting Washington DC voters to pass the initiative to decriminalize psychedelic plants.

Will DC Initiative 81 Pass?

“Yes” on (Almost) Everything!

Who in their right mind would want to stand between Americans and a potential remedy for depression or anxiety? And what’s not to be depressed about?

I’m telling government officials this right now:

Get as many mind-altering substances into the hands of as much as the populous as swiftly as you can manage.

Looking at the tidal wave of evictions, layoffs, and small business closures that await this country, elected representatives better pray for people to find something to relax or distract them from the conditions they’ve helped create.

That said, I am anxiously awaiting the effect on society of mushroom use increasing. Weed can be overconsumed and abused, and commodified in ways to promote docility.

People rant and rave about the cognitive benefits of marijuana, but it’s far less likely to dramatically shift a user’s worldview than psilocybin.

I’m assuming this year’s ballot items are indicative of a growing trend towards alternative medicines and the “Decriminalize Nature” movement; more states will follow the lead of early adopters like Denver, Oregon, and Washington DC’s example.

Which means, eventually, a significant portion of the population will have reasonably easy access to safe, supervised, psilocybin trips.

I don’t know if the current system could survive the kind of scrutiny that may inspire.

Once 15% of your population has undergone the kind of deprogramming the treatment processes laid out in the current initiatives will provide; foreign wars, wealth inequality, privatized prisons, the two-party system, and capitalism, in general, are going to be some mighty tough sells.

It’s an excellent way to end up with swathes of Americans “opting out” to live amongst each other in massive, moneyless barter economies and fend for themselves and their neighbors.

  • Maybe Tuesday’s elections will provide a few more small steps in that direction.
  • Maybe we’ll end up 20 years down the road, too schlonked out on the boatloads of assorted drugs we legalized to pay any attention to the realities of the world around us.

It’ll be a hell of an entertaining journey either way.