There were big wins for marijuana legalization across the US on election night as voters chose not only their president but policy as well.
Voters in four states approved recreational marijuana initiatives on Tuesday while voters in Florida overwhelmingly passed a constitutional amendment to approve the use of medical marijuana.
The total number of states that have legalized recreational cannabis is now seven, with a recent Gallup poll showing that close to 60 percent of Americans are now supportive of the idea.
In California, 4.9 million people voted to approve legalizing marijuana in Proposition 64, or 55.8 percent, while more than 3.9 million voted against the measure, or 44.2 percent, according to Ballotpedia. Under the wide-reaching measure, Californians over the age of 21 can grow industrial hemp; it also establishes a 15 percent tax on sales. Medical marijuana is exempt from sales tax. The measure also authorizes re-sentencing and destruction of records for prior marijuana convictions.
With California voters supporting recreational use, pro-legalization groups are encouraged that it will lead to changes on the federal level.
“There is a massive sense of momentum, and this will put a lot of pressure on the federal government,” Ethan Nadelmann, founder of the nonprofit Drug Policy Alliance, a pro-legalization group, told AP.
In Maine, 50.2 percent of voters, or more than 376,000 people, said ‘yes’ to legalizing marijuana, with 49.8 percent, or more than 373,000, voters against the measure. Under the measure, those aged 21 and over can possess, use or transport limited amounts of marijuana. Licensed facilities can produce and sell the drug, and it establishes a 10 percent tax on sales.
In Massachusetts, 1.7 million voters approved a measure to legalize marijuana, or 53.6 percent of the vote. Under the measure, residents can use, distribute and cultivate marijuana over the age of 21. It would also be taxed.
Nevada residents also approved a measure to legalize recreational marijuana, receiving approval from 54.5 percent of voters, or more than 600,000 people. There would also be a 15 percent tax on wholesale marijuana sales. Net revenue would go towards education.
Over one million people in Arizona voted ‘no’ against Proposition 205, or 52.1 percent, which would have legalized the consumption and growth of limited amounts of marijuana for those 21 and older. Just under a million voted ‘yes,’ or 47.9 percent