Many experts are saying that today’s election officially represents the turning point for the history of marijuana. By the end of Tuesday marijuana could be legal for 1/4 of all Americans. There are 5 states that will be voting for recreational usage of marijuana as well as 4 states who will be voting for medical usage of marijuana.
The 5 States Voting for Recreational Marijuana
1. California – The California initiative would allow adults over the age of 21 to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants in a secure area. There will be a 10% sales tax on adult-use marijuana sales, but no sales tax on medical marijuana. The reason this vote is being watched so closely is that the projected numbers in this market are astounding. If you thought Colorado was putting up some big pot revenue dollars, get ready because California will dwarf that state.
2. Nevada – According to a recent poll by the Las Vegas Review Journal, the outcome is too close to call. 47% said they would vote yes, while 46% said they would vote no. With a 3.5% margin of error, the decision could go either way. On the political side of support, Democratic politicians are mostly in favor, while Republican leaders are fighting the measure. If the measure passes, Arcview Market Research estimates that the Nevada market could grow from $121.6 million in 2016 in legal sales to $630 million by 2020.
3. Massachusetts – In Massachusetts, the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Initiative, or Question 4, would create a system of retail stores and growing facilities. It would also allow adults 21 and older to possess and grow marijuana in limited amounts. There will be a 3.75% excise tax on retail sales, plus a 6.25% tax state sales tax and towns can impose an additional 2 percent tax. Towns can also ban marijuana sales if they choose.
4. Arizona – Arizona’s Proposition 205 would allow adults over the age of 21 to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and consume it in private. Adults would also be able to grow up to six plants in an enclosed, locked space. Retail sales would be subject to a 15% excise tax and the tax receipts would be used to implement the measure. Of the additional revenue, 80% would be distributed to the school system. The Arizona Joint Legislative Budget Committee estimates that the initiative will raise more than $123 million in annual revenue for the states and give more than $55 million per year to the schools. Arizona voters are also late bloomers. Back in July, only 39% were in favor, but now a poll by Arizona Republic/Morrison/Cronkite News found 50% are in favor.
5. Maine – Maine’s legislation is called Question 1 and like the others it will allow adults over the age of 21 to possess and grow a limited amount of marijuana. Maine voters have been consistently in favor of the legislation.
The 4 States voting on Medical Marijuana Laws
1. Arkansas – The latest polling on Issue 6, a measure to bring medical marijuana to deep-red Arkansas and the South on Election Day, showed support at around 50 percent ― further complicated by an aggressive opposition campaign and controversy surrounding a separate ballot initiative on medical marijuana.
2. Florida – Recent polling showed Floridians likely approve medical marijuana on Tuesday, leading to hopes that it could become the first state in the South to legalize weed for any purpose (polls close earlier in Florida than in Arkansas). One survey conducted in late October showed support for the state’s Amendment 2 at over 70 percent. Florida’s campaign for medical marijuana attracted a number of high-profile supporters hoping the state’s voters would do what they failed to do in 2014, when they rejected a similar measure. But anti-drug groups and donors ― including Adelson, who donated $1,500,000 to oppose Amendment 2 ― were intent on pushing back against the apparent momentum.
3. Montana – Montana first legalized medical marijuana back in 2004, but five years ago, state lawmakers severely gutted that medical marijuana program, prompting a dramatic decline in medical marijuana providers for state-registered patients. Some polling suggested a lack of support for Initiative 182, a measure to repeal limitations installed by state lawmakers and establish a robust program in the state once again.
4. North Dakota – Prior to Tuesday, there wasn’t any recent polling available on North Dakota’s Measure 5. In 2014, 47 percent of voters said they supported the legalization of medical marijuana, though they hadn’t gotten the chance to vote on it until this election.