Early voting in this election is just days away with some states voting on marijuana reform. Whether states are voting on marijuana reform, medical or recreational, any success in these states would be a win for ending marijuana prohibition and the failed drug war.
Which states are voting on marijuana legalization?
California has a long history of voting on marijuana reform. The latest measure, Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), legalizes:
the possession of 1 ounce of marijuana flower, or up to 8 grams of cannabis concentrates for those 21 years and older,
the cultivation of up to 6 plants, in addition to hemp production,
a taxed and regulated system for a recreational marijuana industry.
California’s recreational marijuana law is intricate. It outlines marketing restrictions to minors, allows local tax rates and limitations on commercial marijuana operators to be in the hands of local counties and municipalities, and several other stipulations.
The measure is backed by Let’s Get it Right CA, Governor Gavin Newsom, the ACLU, NAACP, Drug Policy Alliance, Students for a Sensible Drug Policy, NORML and Marijuana Policy Project.
Nevada votes on recreational marijuana legalization in November. The stated passed medical marijuana in 2000. For residents 21 years and older, the initiative would legalize: possession of 1 ounce of marijuana,
a taxed and regulated recreational cannabis industry with tax revenue supporting K-12 education,
and includes a clause that allows anyone who does not live within 25 miles of a marijuana store to grow up to 6 marijuana plants.
The initiative in Maine aims to legalize recreational marijuana for residents 21 years and older and creates a taxed and regulated recreational cannabis industry. It legalizes:
the possession of up to 2 1/2 ounces of marijuana,
the possession, cultivation and transportation of up to 6 flowering marijuana plants, 12 immature marijuana plants and unlimited seedlings, and possession of all the marijuana produced by the marijuana plants at that person’s residence.
The Marijuana Legalization Act is supported by the Legalize Maine group.
The Legalization and Regulation of Marijuana Act, or Proposition 205, will be on the ballot in Arizona this November. Medical marijuana is already available for almost 100,000 cardholders, however, recreational marijuana possession still faces legal charges. For residents 21 years and older, the initiative legalizes:
the possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana,
a taxed and regulated recreational cannabis industry,
adults to grow up to 6 marijuana plants in an enclosed, locked space within their residences and possess the marijuana produced by those plants in the location where it was grown. A limit of the total marijuana plants grown in a single residence is limited at 12.
The Question 4 initiative to regulate and tax marijuana for recreational use for adults 21 years and up, like alcohol, will be on the November ballot. The initiative legalizes:
possession up to 1 ounce of marijuana outside of an individual’s residence,
possession of up to 10 ounces of marijuana in an enclosed, locked space within their residences,
growing up to 6 marijuana plants in an enclosed, locked space within their residences and possess the marijuana produced by those plants in the location where it was grown. No more than 12 total marijuana plants can be grown in a single residence.
Florida will be voting on medical marijuana for the second election cycle in a row. Florida saw medical marijuana narrowly defeated (2 percent) in 2014. In 2014, the initiative to legalize marijuana got 57% of the vote, just short of the supermajority of 60% needed to pass. Backers believe this time around they will get the votes needed to legalize it. The 2016 Amendment 2 initiative legalizes and states:
the medical use of marijuana for individuals with debilitating medical conditions as determined by a licensed Florida physician,
allows caregivers to assist patients’ medical use of marijuana,
and that the Department of Health shall register and regulate centers that produce and distribute marijuana for medical purposes and shall issue identification cards to patients and caregivers.
The “Vote No on 2 Campaign,” which is backed by a group called the Drug Free Florida Committee has put out a series of videos bashing the amendment. One video highlights the people who would be selling the product. “No medical training. No clinical experience. But knows a lot about pot firsthand.” you hear the announcer say. They point out marijuana would be doled out by budtenders, not medical professionals. They also note that Florida’s Department of Health estimates roughly 2,000 pot shops setting up if this passes. A video on the site highlights the stat by saying “We’ll have more pot shops than Starbucks, McDonalds, and 7-elevens combined:”
Arkansas has an interesting ballot when it comes to voting on marijuana reform. There are two competing proposals: the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act (Issue 7) and the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment (Issue 6). Issue 6, would make a repeal of the law impossible. Both Issue 6 and Issue 7, allow medical marijuana treatment for select conditions, but vary when it comes to growing at home.
North Dakota and Montana will also be voting on Medical Marijuana this November.
In something of a surprise move, a medical marijuana measure recently qualified for the ballot in North Dakota. It appears the last polling on medical pot in the state was done in 2014, when 47 percent of voters approved of medical pot and 41 percent opposed it. North Dakota’s always been a bit of an odd man out when it comes to medical marijuana. Its neighbor to the west, Montana, approved medical pot by ballot in 2004. Its neighbor to the east, Minnesota, approved it via legislature in 2014. But North Dakota is a notoriously conservative state. Authorities there have already been warning about the alleged cost to implement the measure. But backers dispute the official cost estimates.
Wait, doesn’t Montana already have medical marijuana? Well, yes and no. Voters approved medical pot in 2004, but since then, state lawmakers have been working to undermine that measure. In 2011, they passed legislation that, among other things, prevented medical dispensaries from charging for their services beyond the cost of recouping a licensing fee. In the year following the law, the number of medical marijuana providers plummeted by 90 percent.