Which States Legalized Marijuana in 2016?
With a long and tumultuous election year over, there is one thing that America can rejoice over. On November 8, eight states legalized marijuana for either medical or recreational marijuana.
This now means that over half – 33 total states – have legalized marijuana. In 2016, five states proposed recreational marijuana laws with four passing the initiatives. While four states aimed to pass medical marijuana laws, all four pushed these initiatives into law.
California Passes Proposition 64
California already has a series of legalized marijuana laws enacted in the state. However, Proposition 64 took those laws one step further by aiming to regulate marijuana like alcohol.
It didn’t take long for Proposition 64 results to roll in. Politico called the results with only 11% of precincts reporting.
Proposition 64 opens the door for recreational marijuana to adults 21 and over. It allows possession of up to 8 grams of cannabis, the cultivation of up to 6 plants, and the industrial cultivation of hemp.
The new law is intricate and develops a taxed and regulated system for the recreational marijuana industry. It also allows municipalities some control over licensing.
Yet, perhaps what Prop 64 does best is create a system for reducing the sentences and/or expunging past marijuana convictions for those already incarcerated for minor marijuana-related crimes.
Nevada Passes Question 2
Putting another recreational marijuana state into the books, Nevada passes their marijuana legalization initiative with 53.8% support.
Possession of up to an ounce of marijuana becomes legal, as well as, the cultivation of up to six plants for those who live over 25 miles from a dispensary.
Like Colorado and other states with recreational marijuana, tax revenue from the regulated marijuana industry will go towards supporting K through 12 education.
Massachusetts Passes Question 4
Polling on Massachusetts Question 4 remained a close call throughout election night. With the final reports coming in from 87.8% of the state’s precincts, recreation marijuana passed with 53.5% support
Question 4 legalizes the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana outside of an individual’s residence, cultivation of up to 6 plants and more.
In order to initiate and oversee a taxed and regulated industry, the bill also creates the new Cannabis Control Commission.
Maine Passes Question 1
In a nonstop neck-and-neck race to the finish, Maine legalizes recreational marijuana for residents 21 years and older. The intent of the bill is to legalize marijuana as an agricultural product by placing the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry in control of the cultivation, manufacturing, distribution and sale of marijuana.
Question 1 legalizes the possession of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana, the cultivation of marijuana, and marijuana social clubs.
Florida Passes Amendment 2
Looks like second time’s a charm for Florida and this time it didn’t take long – results were in in less that two hours after polls closed. The state passed Amendment 2 with 71% support
Amendment 2 allows a licensed Florida physician to prescribe medical marijuana to patients with debilitating medical conditions. It also allows medical care centers to produce and distribute marijuana under the watch of the Department of Health.
Arkansas Passes Issue 6
After much confusion over competing marijuana legalization measure, Arkansas Issue 6 made it through to the state ballot. The measure to legalize medical marijuana passed with 52.6% support.
Issue 6 is a small bill compared to the leaps made by California and Massachusetts. It allows possession of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana by registered patients with doctor-approved treatment through nonprofit compassion centers.
It will be interesting to see where Arkansas takes this law after dipping their toes into legalized medical marijuana.
North Dakota Passes Measure 5
With all the votes in, North Dakota’s medical marijuana law passed with a high margin. The initiative pulled 63.6% support across the state.
Medical marijuana became accessible to patients suffering from cancer, AIDS/HIV, PTSD, epilepsy and more. Measure 5 legalizes possession of up to 3 ounces of marijuana and cultivation of up to 8 plants for those living more than 40 miles from a compassion center.
A system of compassion centers is to be put into place in order to dispense medical marijuana and patients will have to registered for identification cards.
Montana Passes I-182
Montana’s I-182 expands the medical marijuana laws already in place in the state. It removes previously enacted laws that restricted medical access to marijuana, namely a three-patent limit for marijuana providers.
No longer blocked by these previous laws, the initiative allows patients to actually access medical marijuana for several debilitating illnesses.