Cannabis was legalized in 8 States This November – Here’s Everything You Need to Know
In 2016, an unprecedented number of Americans voted to legalize cannabis in their state. As of November 9th, residents of Arkansas, Florida, Montana, and North Dakota now have safe, legal access to medical marijuana. Four more states, including California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada have voted in favor of legalizing cannabis for recreational use. There are now 29 states that have legalized medical marijuana, and adult use is now legal for nearly 70 million residents across eight different states. Overall, this was a great year for cannabis. Eight out of nine cannabis initiatives passed, and Arizona on lost by less than three points. We compiled a list of the nine states that voted in 2016, with a brief explanation of what the new laws mean for residents. Please choose from one of the states below for more information.
Proposition 205: Arizona’s Marijuana Legalization Initiative
Arizona’s Marijuana Legalization Initiative, also known as Proposition 205, would have allowed adults over the age of 21 to possess up to one ounce of cannabis, and recreational users could grow up to six plants in their home. Arizona marijuana sales would have been subject to a 15 percent excise tax, which would have helped fund the implementation and enforcement of state regulations.
Issue 6: Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment
Originally, residents of Arkansas were set to vote on two very different cannabis initiatives in 2016: the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act (a.k.a. Arkansas Issue 7 Medical Cannabis Statute) and the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment (a.k.a. Arkansas Medical Marijuana Issue 6). However, on Thursday, October 27th, Arkansas officials disqualified Issue 7, Issue 6 remained on the ballot. Both initiatives aimed to legalize medical marijuana; however Issue 6 was a bit more restrictive. Issue 6 limits the number of dispensaries, prohibits home cultivation, and caps dispensary and cultivation license fees, whereas Issue 7 would not have capped the total number of dispensaries, would have allowed for home cultivation (for patients living more than 20 miles from the nearest dispensary), and would have included a longer list of approved qualifying conditions. There were several other key differences, such as taxation, and regulatory practices, which you can read about here. Early polls showed that the majority of residents supported Issue 6, and marijuana advocates feared that by offering two initiatives, they both might have failed.
Qualifying conditions to receive medical marijuana in Arkansas include:
- Positive status for HIV/AIDS
- Hepatitis C
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Tourette’s snydrome
- Crohn’s disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Severe arthritis
- Alzheimer’s disease
Status: Passed with a 53 percent majority vote.
Proposition 64: The Adult Use of Marijuana Act
It’s been nearly 20 years since California passed proposition 215, which legalized medical marijuana in the Golden State. In 2016, residents voted “yes” on Proposition 64 (a.k.a. The Adult Use of Marijuana Act) which legalized cannabis for adult recreational use. The new initiative will introduce two new excise taxes. The first is a cultivation tax of $9.25 per ounce for flowers and $2.75 per ounce for leaves. The second will be a 15 percent tax on the retail price of marijuana. Local governments would also be permitted to levy taxes on the sale and cultivation of cannabis.
Amendment 2: Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative
In 2016, Floridians voted on the Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative (a.k.a. Amendment 2), which legalized medical marijuana for patients suffering from a list of 10 debilitating diseases including cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, PTSD, ALS, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis. This initiative authorizes licensed state physicians to prescribe medical cannabis to patients suffering from the 10 qualifying conditions. A similar ballot initiative narrowly failed back in 2014. However, early polls showed that the majority of Florida residents are in favor of Amendment 2.
Qualifying conditions to receive medical marijuana in Florida include:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Crohn’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
Status: Passed with a 71 percent majority vote.
Question 1: Maine Marijuana Legalization Measure
Maine legalized medical marijuana back in 1999 when the majority of residents voted in favor of Question 2. In 2016, Maine voted “yes” on Question 1, which legalized cannabis for recreational possession and use. Now that Question 1 has passed, it will be up to the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to regulate all retail dispensaries, and the state will apply a 10 percent excise tax on all marijuana sales.
Question 4: Massachusetts Marijuana Legalization Initiative
In the state of Massachusetts, marijuana has been legalized for medical use since 2012. The 2016 ballot initiative known as Question 4 made it legal for adults over the age of 21 to use, grow, and possess cannabis. Under the new law, Massachusetts residents are permitted to grow up to six plants in their home, and possess up to one ounce in public. All marijuana sales will be subject to state sales tax, in addition to a 3.75 excise tax. Local municipalities have the option to levy an additional 2 percent tax, if they chose to.
I-182: Montana Medical Marijuana Initiative
Montana passed the Montana Medical Marijuana Act back in 2011, which legalized medical marijuana for residents of the Treasure State. In 2016, residents of Montana voted on Montana Medical Marijuana Initiative, I-182. According to Ballotpedia, “I-182 renames the Montana Marijuana Act to the Montana Medical Marijuana Act and amends the Act. I-182 allows a single treating physician to certify medical marijuana for a patient diagnosed with chronic pain and includes post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a ‘debilitating medical condition’ for which a physician may certify medical marijuana.”
Question 2: Nevada Marijuana Legalization Initiative
Nevada legalized medical marijuana back in 2000, under the Nevada Medical Marijuana Act (a.k.a. Question 9). This November, Nevada will vote on Question 2, which would allow adults 21 and older to use and possess up to one ounce of marijuana for recreational purposes. The new initiative would apply a 15 percent excise tax to all wholesale marijuana sales. Additionally, residents living more than 25 miles away from the nearest dispensary are permitted to grow up to six marijuana plants in their own home. The initiative would also remove all penalties for personal use and possession of up to one ounce of marijuana or one-eighth of an ounce of cannabis concentrate.
Initiated Statutory Measure 5: North Dakota Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative
The North Dakota Compassionate Care Act (a.k.a. Initiated Statutory Measure 5) would allow patients suffering from cancer, AIDS, Hepatitis C, ALS, glaucoma and epilepsy, safe access to medical marijuana. If passed, qualifying patients could be prescribed up to three ounces of cannabis. If the Act passes, the state will be tasked with creating patient identification cards that, which will later be distributed by the Department of Health. A similar initiative failed in 2012 failed on account of petition fraud.
Qualifying conditions to receive medical marijuana in North Dakota include:
- Cancer and its treatments
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
- Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)
- Decompensated cirrhosis (Hepatitis C)
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease)
- Post-tramautic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or the treatment of these conditions.
- Crohn’s disease or Fibromyalgia
- Spinal stenosis or chronic back pain including neuropathy or damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity.
- Any other medical condition or its treatment added by the North Dakota Department of Health.
- A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces one or more of the following: cachexia or wasting syndrome; severe debilitating pain that has not responded to previously prescribed medication or surgical measures for more than three months or for which other treatment options produced serious side effects; intractable nausea; seizures; or severe and persistent muscle spasms, including but not limited to those characteristic of multiple sclerosis.
- Patients may petition the North Dakota Department of Health to add to the list of qualifying medical conditions.
Status: Passed with a 63 percent majority vote.
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