On election day, voters headed to the polls not only to cast their ballots for the next US President, but also, in 9 states, to determine whether to legalize or expand the use of marijuana.
Five of these states—Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada—included ballot initiatives to approve the recreational use of marijuana. After the votes were tallied, the measures in California, Massachusetts, and Nevada were passed, legalizing recreational marijuana use in those states, while Arizona’s measure was rejected.
At present, with 587 out of 589 precincts reporting, Maine’s initiative is still considered too close to call, although “Yes” is currently leading by 2748 votes.
The new laws that will go into place in California, Massachusetts, and Nevada limit marijuana possession and use to individuals aged 21 years and older. Residents of these states will be permitted to grow up to 6 marijuana plants, although residents of Nevada will only be allowed to do so if they live more than 25 miles away from a retail marijuana store.
Employers in these states will maintain the right to enforce rules about their worker’s marijuana use, and as in all other states that have legalized recreational use, the drug cannot be used in public places.
In addition to these measures, 4 states—Arkansas, Florida, Montana, and North Dakota—included ballot initiatives to legalize the drug’s medical use. All 4 of those measures passed.
Nevertheless, marijuana remains a Schedule 1 controlled substance under federal law. In August 2016, the DEA rejected a petition to reschedule the drug, a decision that disappointed many pharmacists, pharmacy students, and pharmacy technicians.
Despite this, with the passage of these latest measures, marijuana is now legal for recreational use in 7 states and the District of Columbia, while the drug’s use is allowed for medical purposes in 28 states.
A breakdown of how each state voted on marijuana legalization measures can be found in the following table:
State Ballot Initiative “Yes” Votes “No” Votes Result
Arizona Proposition 205 959,518 (47.9%) 1,1011,836 (52.1%) Rejected
California Proposition 64 4,963,501 (55.8%) 3,928,291 (44.2%) Approved
Maine Question 1 378,288 (50.2%) 375,668 (49.8%) Approved
Massachusetts Question 4 1,745,221 (53.6%) 1,512,871 (46.4%) Approved
Nevada Question 2 602,400 (54.5%) 503,615 (45.5%) Approved
State Ballot Initiative “Yes” Votes “No” Votes Result
Arkansas Issue 6 581,259 (53.2%) 511,977 (46.8%) Approved
Florida Amendment 2 6,496,157 (71.3%) 2,616,128 (28.7%) Approved
Montana Initiative 182 284,030 (57.6%) 208,806 (42.4%) Approved
North Dakota Measure 5 215,239 (63.7%) 122,411 (36.3) Approved
Update (11/11/16 at 2:50 PM): With all precincts now reporting, Maine Question 1 has officially passed. The above table has been ammended accordingly.