The 5 States voting on recreational use of Marijuana
The legalization of marijuana has not only shifted in the political sphere but how we as a population culturally respond. And while the federal government continues to criminalize marijuana users, several states have already introduced the legalization for medicinal use. But the movement isn’t a matter of “if” but a matter of “when”. This November, five states will put the legalization of marijuana for recreational use to a vote. While the fine print varies according to state, those states looking to legalize recreational use stand to greatly benefit from it.
So before opinions are formulated come election time, it’s important that people understand the benefits each community stands to gain. Changing the laws to include recreational use may be a little disconcerting to the majority, but when you start to understand the upside, it really makes you wonder –
Can weed help people that don’t even have to smoke it?
NEVADA: The Silver State
As the 1st state to add this measure the November ballot-
Question 2; residents will be able to vote whether or not to legalize recreational marijuana use. Various Nevada counties to adopt medical marijuana regulations, would make it legal for adults age 21 and older to buy marijuana for recreational use, possess up to an ounce and grow up to six plants at home — if that residence is more than 25 miles away from a licensed dispensary.
If QUESTION 2 is approved, part of the measure includes a 15% wholesale tax. This generated revenue would predominantly be shuffled into the K-12 education budget.
The initiative does include limitations on the number of retail outlets in a specific county — the populous Clark County (Las Vegas), for example, can have up to 80 shops, while every other county under 55,000 people can have no more than two recreational stores. Cannabis consumption would be restricted to private premises, which could include a retail marijuana store.
Surprisingly, recent polls show a strong 80% approval rate for the measure.
CALIFORNIA: The Golden State
With the largest state economy in the nation, California has lead the way for the marijuana movement. Like other states, this would create an additional revenue flow that would potentially help revive some of the state’s expenditures and needs. Estimates have suggested that legalizing adult-use marijuana could lead to an additional $1 billion in tax and licensing fees for the state. If successful, this would make recreational marijuana legal all along the West Coast and establish what some view could be a linchpin for federal legalization.
Right now, Prop 64 is holding strong in the polls; showing a 55% support rate for the legalization of marijuana for recreational use.
ARIZONA: The Grand Canyon State
Arizona has not seen as big of a push as other states; with barely getting enough signatures needed for the November ballot. Considering the social debates going on in this state, it’s no surprise that there is only a 39% support rate for PROP 205. Even after the signatures were received and accepted for the the ballot vote, the measure was still met with heavily opposition and even appeals attempting to block it on voting day. Those opposed claimed that the details were not fully disclosed prior to collecting signatures and may have been misleading. The Arizona Supreme Court rejected all petitions and now it’s left up to the voters.
With this strong opposition, this cannabis initiative would impose a 15% tax on marijuana sales, with the majority of proceeds going to the education and healthcare fields. If approved, this measure would allow adults to carry up to an ounce, grow up to six plants and consume marijuana in non-public spaces.
MASSACHUSETTS: The Bay State
Known as a more liberal state, the Spirit of America state has introduced the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act and already showing a 41% support rate.
Even though the state was able to gather enough signatures for the ballot, the opposition is still holding strong and might actually win come election day. A July 2014 poll from the Boston Globe found that 48% of respondents favored legalization, while 47% opposed it. While well within the margin for error, these figures aren’t comforting for industry supporters. If approved, Massachusetts would require consumer to pay the state a 6.25% tax, plus a 3.75% excise tax. Local taxes could also be imposed, up to 2%. Inclusive of Massachusetts‘ medical marijuana market, we could be looking at a nearly $1.2 billion legal marijuana industry in the state by 2020. Like fellow states, the measure would allow adults 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of pot, keep up to 10 ounces of marijuana at home and grow up to six plants. Marijuana sold in licensed shops would be subject to an excise tax of 3.75% in addition to Massachusetts’ 6.25% state sales tax.
This initiative also includes the creation of a 15-member cannabis advisory board to study and make recommendations on regulations and marijuana products. Imagine that!
MAINE: The Pine Tree State
It’s no surprise that Maine has made this list year, considering it legalized medical cannabis back in 1999 – becoming the sixth state in the U.S. to legalize the substance for certain medical ailments. A May poll from the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) showed that 55% of respondents were in favor of seeing recreational marijuana legalized, as opposed to 41% who were against the idea. However, when MPP asked respondents how they felt about taxing and regulating marijuana, 59% favored the idea of taxing and regulating the substance. If approved, the first $30 million in tax revenue collected would go toward school construction, with the remainder heading into the state’s General Fund. Also, the number of marijuana stores and cultivators would be capped until 2019 and 2022, respectively, if the Maine Marijuana Legalization initiative passes.
What do you think about these measures for the 2016 Election season?