Election Results for Legal Cannabis 2016
While most eyes have been set on the presidential race during the 2016 election many states have voted on their own cannabis initiatives and we are here to provide the election results for legal cannabis. California, Nevada, Maine, and Massachusetts all voted to legalize cannabis for recreational use. Arizona voted on recreational cannabis; however, it was not approved into law. There were other states, Florida, Montana, North Dakota and Arkansas, that voted to approve or expand their medical cannabis programs. These decisions have the potential to change the United States on a cultural and economical level.
Paving the road ahead of them was Colorado, Alaska, Oregon, and Washington which have all legalized, regulated and taxed cannabis for adults recreational use, similar to laws that regulate alcohol. Since their votes have been cast and their voices heard, cannabis is now legal for almost one-fifth of the US population.
California votes for Recreational Cannabis
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) November 9, 2016
Proposition 64 was passed in California this past November 8th. This legislation will enable individuals 21 and older to consume and possess cannabis for recreational purposes. Adults will be permitted to grow up to six plants in their home and out of public view. They will also be able to possess up to one ounce of cannabis.
The legislation has added two new taxes, one of which is for farming and the other for retail sales. The taxes will cover law enforcement training with a focus on DUI enforcement and the cost of managing the new operations. In addition, the taxes will raise money for youth substance abuse education and environmental clean-up.
Proposition 64 was not a surprise considering California was the first state to deregulate cannabis for medical use in 1996. The state also has some of the most lenient illnesses required to obtain a medical card, making it comparatively simple for patients to get treatment.
Nevada votes for recreational cannabis
Nevada has recently voted on and passed Question 2, titled the Initiative to Regulate and Tax Marijuana. This initiative, which is now law, allows adults 21 and older to possess, buy, and cultivate their own cannabis for recreational use.
The measure also creates a 15 percent growing tax, that will be paid by licensed cultivators. Resources will be used to execute regulation, and any extra funds will go to support public K-12 education. The new law takes effect on January 1, 2017, and regulations governing commercial marijuana activities must be in place by January 1, 2018.
Arizona votes against recreational cannabis
— MERRY JANE (@MERRYJANE) November 10, 2016
Sadly, the State of Arizona voted against recreational cannabis in the recent election. The result was a 48% pro-cannabis vote compared to a 52% anti-cannabis vote, so recreational cannabis will not be legal as of now; however, the future looks promising. Arizona still has a medical cannabis program with a not too strict list of qualifying conditions. The conditions ranging from cancer to Crohn’s disease to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Maine approves recreational cannabis
— Cannabis Biz Times (@editorCBT) November 10, 2016
Maine has become the eighth state to legalize recreational cannabis. Question 1 was approved allowing adults 21 and older to possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis. The legislation also states that 40 percent of the farming permits must go to small-scale farmers. The most astonishing part of Question 1 is that Maine will be the first and only state to permit social cannabis clubs where individuals can go to purchase and use cannabis, much like a pub. This is monumental! Not even in Colorado are open cannabis clubs permitted outright.Question 1 in Maine especially contains them, which is a fairly big deal, and could alter the face of entertainment and tourism in Maine forever.
The problem has been a hot topic for states that have legalized recreational cannabis. So, while cannabis clubs are uncommon, pot activists are continuing to pressure lawmakers into passing favorable laws. Meanwhile, Maine has become the eighth state to legalize recreational cannabis.
Massachusetts passes recreational cannabis
— Marijuanomics (@Marijuanomics) November 9, 2016
Question 4 passed in Massachusetts. This legislation will allow individuals 21 and older to use, grow and possess cannabis without fear of the authorities.
This measure establishes that individuals will be allowed to have one ounce of cannabis in public and a whopping 10 ounces of marijuana at home, which is a shitload of grass. The measure will also create the Cannabis Control Commission which will manage issues and legalization permits for those wishing to sell cannabis products.
In addition, the initiative will levy a small 3.75 percent tax on top of Massachusetts sales tax and will enable cities and towns to levy an additional 2 percent tax. This money will go towards helping the state create the new oversight committees required for the new law.
Along with the recreational vote, Florida, Montana, North Dakota and Arkansas also voted to permit medical cannabis to be dispensed to qualifying residents via treatment centers, joining 25 other states that already have developed medical cannabis laws. All states that legalized recreational cannabis started with a medical cannabis program. The fact that these states approved or expanded their medical cannabis industry is good news and means they are one step closer to recreational legalization.
Florida votes in favor of medical cannabis
— HIGH TIMES (@HIGH_TIMES_Mag) November 10, 2016
Florida has approved Amendment 2 in order to become the 26th state to legalize medical cannabis. The measure was overwhelmingly approved allowing seriously ill patients to obtain medical cannabis from licensed treatment centers. The Department of Health will regulate the cannabis treatment centers. These treatment centers will cultivate and distribute medical cannabis to qualifying patients with debilitating conditions.
Back in June of 2015, several cities in Florida began allowing greater discretion among officers in regards to cannabis. This allowed police to start giving citations, instead of arrests, for possession of fewer than 20 grams of cannabis.
Montana enlarges its medical cannabis program
— MPP Marijuana Policy (@MarijuanaPolicy) November 9, 2016
Montana just recently voted to expand their medical cannabis program with the passing of I-182. There are many important changes to the medical program of Montana. its first three names the Montana Marijuana Act to the Montana Medicinal Marijuana Act. It certifies treatment for patients with chronic pain and includes post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a “debilitating medical condition”. The passing of I-182 repeals the limit of 3 patients for each licensed medical cannabis provider. Medical cannabis providers are now allowed to hire employees to cultivate, dispense, and transport medical cannabis. Before I-182, physicians who provided more than 25 patients with access to medical cannabis were referred to a board of medical examiners; this provision is now repealed.
Most importantly, I-182 removes the authority of law enforcement to conduct unannounced inspections of medical cannabis facilities. Instead, the law requires annual inspections of treatment centers by the State of Montana. Another big win for medical cannabis.
North Dakota passes medical cannabis
On November 8th North Dakota approved Measure 5 by a percentage of 67- 32%. This measure will approve medical cannabis for North Dakota residents who are suffering from certain conditions. With a doctor’s recommendation patients will be able to obtain medical cannabis from state-licensed treatment centers. Any patients living more than 40 miles from a treatment center will be allowed to grow up to 8 plants in their home.
The law will go into effect in 30 days, giving the Department of Health time to begin implementing the legislation. They will need to develop regulations for the program as well as a process for licensing businesses and enrolling patients.
North Dakota also has some of the harshest laws in the nation where a single joint the possibility getting some person up to a year in prison and up to a $2,000 fine.
Despite their rough past, North Dakota is definitely moving in the right direction by passing this piece of legislation.
Arkansas votes yes on medical cannabis
Arkansas has become the first state in the deep south to allow medical cannabis. The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment will allow patients with qualifying conditions to obtain medical cannabis with their doctor’s permission. Even though there was the potential to pass more pro-cannabis legislation, Arkansas now has a workable program. There will be many ill patients in the State of Arkansas that will benefit from this program.
Currently, Arkansas has some of the harshest laws in the nation. Possessing less than 4 ounces of marijuana is considered a misdemeanor. This charge carries a punishment of up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. Possessing an ounce of cannabis, with two prior cannabis convictions, is a felony punishable by up to six years in prison and a $6,000 fine.
This new amendment was definitely a step in the right direction for Arkansas.
So what is next?
Regulations must be established, agencies must be formed, and law enforcement, as well as the people, should be prepared. Thankfully, the states that have allowed recreational cannabis have established honorable practices. They will continue to be examples of success for the legal cannabis industry.