With Tuesday’s election, Montana became one of the many Western states to approve a medical marijuana initiative, while other parts of the country haven’t even put the issue on the ballot.
"I would guess many of the people that voted for it probably don't use marijuana, but they don't want to say their neighbors can't," said Steven Stehr, political science professor at Washington State University.
However, it’s also a practical issue. Only 24 states allow citizens to put issues on the ballot by petition, bypassing the legislature. Eleven of those are Western states.
But some voters in Montana say their state’s unique view of the world could be a big reason for the initiative’s success.
"We always say in Montana we're extraordinarily independent, so we'll vote for contradictory things," said Jerry Calvert, political science professor at Montana State University in Bozeman.