December 02, 2016 | WES ABNEY
We put together this breakdown for people to understand the enormous changes coming to states all across the country and what actually happened at the polls. Illustration by Brandon Vosika.
While the nation tore itself apart on social media over the Trump vs. Clinton showdown, many Americans voted for something far more important to lovers of Cannabis: medical and recreational legalization. Pot was on the ballot in nine states and, by and large, Americans showed widespread support for making Cannabis available. And luckily for our movement, these were Cannabis laws that will help promote understanding of this amazing plant. We put together this breakdown for people to understand the enormous changes coming to states all across the country and what actually happened at the polls.
California: The Adult Use of Marijuana Act passed with 58 percent of Californians voting in support. The hotly contested act regulates recreational Cannabis and only time will tell how it affects the state’s medical marijuana industry. Adults can now possess up to one ounce and six plants at home.
Nevada: This bittersweet initiative passed allowing adults to possess up to one ounce of pot and only allows them to grow at home if they don’t live within 25 miles of a dispensary. There is also a 15 percent excise tax imposed to bring in new revenue. Clearly meant for tourism, the homegrow limitation will likely be challenged in coming years.
Maine: Adults here will now be able to possess 2.5 ounces at home. The new law allows for six flowering and 12 vegetative plants per household and ensures that 40 percent of grower licenses go to small scale farms. Maine will be the first state to allow consumption and social clubs to open for adult use!
Massachusetts:This is the closest thing to true legalization passed this year. Adults can now enjoy one ounce in public, 10 ounces at home and the law allows for homegrown while limiting taxes to 5.75 percent.
Arizona: The battle for legalization in AZ was hotly contested by prohibitionist groups pushing anti-pot ads with outright false claims and bad science. Unfortunately, it was enough for the measure to be narrowly defeated at the polls. Prop 205 would have allowed for personal possession of an ounce and six plants at home. Pot advocates are already prepping there for a 2018 legalization push.
Florida:After a devastating loss in the last election, a whopping 78 percent of voters in Florida approved the use of medical marijuana. The system will create producer, processor and retailer licenses as well as allowing patients to cultivate their own medicine!
Montana: Out of all the states that have wrestled with MMJ, Montana has been the toughest battleground. After creating a system that was based on providers and caregivers and patients, the laws were repealed in 2012 with federal and local raids. This election rolls back the old laws, allowing patients to grow for themselves and provide for others, including options for retail locations.
North Dakota: Another bittersweet victory in North Dakota will allow patients to have access starting in 30 days when the Department of Health begins to implement the new law. Patients will only be able to grow their own pot if they live outside a 40-mile range of a dispensary. Still, with some of the harshest laws in the country for pot, this marks a major victory for patient access!
Arkansas: This Bible Belt state became the first to legalize medical use of Cannabis with a major victory for patients. The law is still extremely limited — only four to eight producers and 40 dispensaries licensed statewide — but it is a major victory over the current reign of prohibition.