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Photo: Seth McConnell/The Denver Post via Getty Images

The move to legalize marijuana for medical and recreational use has been shifting to conservative states like Oklahoma, North Dakota and Utah — a reflection of the country’s changing attitude toward the drug, which federal law classifies as an illegal narcotic.

By the numbers: The support for the legalization of marijuana has been steadily increasing. A Pew Research Center survey released earlier this year found that about 61% of Americans say marijuana should be legalized — a four percentage point increase from a year ago. It's supported by almost seven in 10 Democrats, 65% of Independents and 43% of Republicans.

Where it stands:

  • Two states will vote on ballot measures in November. Utah will vote on whether to legalize medical marijuana, while Michigan will vote on whether to legalize it for recreational use.
  • Oklahoma, whose governor last month signed medical marijuana rules into law, could vote to expand the state's laws to include recreational use if supporters collect enough signatures to get it on the November ballot.
  • In Missouri, four proposals seeking to legalize medical marijuana are awaiting approval from the secretary of state, and supporters are hoping one of them will make it onto the ballot.

The big picture: Marijuana advocates are seeking legalization through ballot initiatives, since GOP-controlled state legislatures or governors have generally opposed legalizing marijuana.

But the effort is also gaining momentum in blue states like Delaware, New Jersey and New York — whose Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo, had once referred to marijuana as a “gateway drug.”

Read more:

Go deeper

Movie theaters go out of style

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Vaccination rates are going up, people are going out to restaurants again — although the new COVID variant may get in the way — but they still aren't rushing back to the movies.

By the numbers: Some 49% of pre-pandemic moviegoers are no longer hitting theaters, according to a study from the film research company The Quorum, as reported by the New York Times.

31 mins ago - Health

Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles down

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

European countries are doubling down on pressure campaigns to get people vaccinated just as Republicans continue to wage war — often successfully — against vaccine mandates in the U.S.

Why it matters: The starkly different approaches create a sharp contrast between the regions' approaches to vaccination, even as the Omicron variant rapidly spreads around the world.

1 hour ago - World

Two years of COVID-19

Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Axios Visuals

Two years ago Wednesday, the first case of a mysterious new respiratory disease was discovered in Wuhan, China. Now, the Omicron variant has deepened concerns about just how much longer the coronavirus pandemic will last.

The big picture: More than 5 million people have died since that first case. Most people on earth have lived through some form of lockdown. 54% of the global population has had at least one vaccination, though the shots have been distributed unevenly.