2016 is proving to be a big year for medical and recreational marijuana laws. Five states had recreational marijuana on the ballot and three(Massachusetts, Nevada, and California) passed; Three states(Florida, Arkansas, and North Dakota) approved medical marijuana.
Massachusetts Votes “Yes” on Recreational Marijuana
Massachusetts Marijuana Legalization Initiative(also known as Question 4) passed with 53.56% of voters saying “yes” and 46.44% saying “no”. Massachusetts has previously approved marijuana for medical purposes. Question 4 will allow individuals 21 and older to use, grow and possess recreational marijuana. The initiative also seeks a Cannabis Control Commission to oversee marijuana sales(similar to Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division). Legalization takes effect on December 15, 2016 and retail shops will be allowed to open in 2018.
Nevada’s Question 2 Wins
The Nevada Marijuana Legalization Initiative(Question 2) won with 54.47% of the vote. Nevada previously approved medical marijuana in 2000 with Question 9. Under question 2 adults 21 or older may posses, consume, and cultivate marijuana for recreational purposes. The initiative also authorized regulated marijuana retail stores, cultivation facilities, manufacturing facilities, testing facilities, and distributors. For the first 18 months only registered wholesale liquor dealers are permitted to apply for marijuana distributor licensing. Retail stores will be limited by county size, and are prohibited within 1000 feet of a school or 300 feet of a community facility. Legislators must discuss taxation and regulation in the 2017 session.
California’s Adult Use of Marijuana Act
Proposition 64, also known as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act passed with 56.04% of the vote. This allows adults 21 or older to possess and use recreational cannabis. Smoking is permitted in private homes and at businesses licensed for on-site consumption. Proposition 64 also prohibits sales within 600 feet of a school, day care center, or youth center and prevents large-scale marijuana business licenses for five years in an effort to prevent monopolies. The proposition immediately allows adults to possess marijuana and gives the state until January 1, 2018 to begin issuing licenses. California first legalized medical marijuana with proposition 215 in 1996.
Maine is Gray Area/Too Close to Call
Maine’s Question 1 is still to close to call.
*UPDATE 11/10/2016* Maine approved recreational marijuana with 50.51% of voters saying “yes” on Question 1.