5 States Could Legalize Recreational Marijuana Use This Year – Here’s What We Know

October 10, 2016
First Harvest Financial

Almost half of the states in the country have legalized the usage of marijuana for recreational use, medical use, or both. This November gives nine more states the opportunity to follow suit.

Out of the nine states with marijuana on the ballot, five of them have the possibility of legalizing marijuana for recreational use. The state whose decision carries the most weight is California.

The final decision will be made in November. Currently, this is all the information we have at hand:

1. Massachusetts

Name: Question 4
Chance of Passing: Good

Voters in Massachusetts will be given the opportunity on November 8th to vote for or against Question 4, which is the bill that would allow the legal recreational use, sale, cultivation, and possession of cannabis. If the bill is passed, it will be regulated very similarly to the alcohol industry.

Although Massachusetts is known as a blue state, members of both parties have been vocal about their opposition toward the bill. Charlie Baker, a Republican governor, and Marty Walsh, Boston’s Democratic mayor, both oppose the legalization of recreational cannabis. Both individuals joined attorney general Maura Healey in a commentary over the issue for the Boston Globe:

“Our state has already decriminalized the drug for personal use, and we’ve made it legally available for medical use. The question before us now is whether marijuana should be fully legal and widely available for commercial sale. We think the answer is ‘no.'”

Despite how officials feel about the potential legalization, the majority of those voting on the bill appear to support it according to Ballotpedia. Previously, initiatives to decriminalize marijuana use as well as legalize medicinal usage were both positively received by voters and passed easily.

If the bill passes, marijuana will be legalized in the state beginning on December 15, 2016.

2. Maine

Name: Question 1
Chance of Passing: Good

Question 1 is where Maine voters will have their say over marijuana’s legalization on November 8th. The bill intends to legalize recreational use, sale, possession, and cultivation of cannabis for adults aged 21 years or older. Medical usage is already permitted in Maine.

Although Maine is a state that leans more to the left in terms of politics, previous attempts to legalize marijuana have been unsuccessful. This time around, however, the outlook seems more positive: over $1 million has been spent toward legalizing marijuana in the state, with the majority of the budget having gone toward getting Question 1 on the ballot.

Gov. Paul LePage and Attorney General Janet Mills are both against the legalization of cannabis. However, no groups that oppose Question 1 have been formed.

3. Arizona

Name: Proposition 205
Chance of passing: Bleak

On November 8th, proposition 205 allows voters to decide whether or not recreational use and cultivation of marijuana should be legalized.

If the bill were passed, regulation of marijuana as a whole would be handled by the state itself, and individual cannabis retailers would be handled by towns/cities. Adults 21 years or older are the only individuals the bill applies to.

John McCain supports legalization in the state, but Doug Ducey, a Republican governor, staunchly opposes the bill.

Despite its past strong Republican stance, Arizona is a state with shifting demographics, which subsequently results in a new political scene. While the bill’s supporters appear to be evenly matched with those who oppose it, there is not quite a large enough majority to ensure the provision will be able to pass.

4. California
Name: Proposition 64
Chance of passing: Exceptional

Proposition 64 is the bill that aims to legalize recreational use, sale, possession, and cultivation for those over the age of 21.

Proposition 64 is unequivocally the most significant bill on the ballot this November. If the proposition is passed, the entire West Coast of the United States will have marijuana legalized for medicinal and recreational use. California is already the sixth largest economy in the world; it even outranks the entire country of France.

According to polls, Proposition 64 has a very high chance to pass in November. Dianne Feinstein, a Democratic senator, opposes the bill, but it does not seem to have too large of an impact on voters’ decisions. In 2014 Governor Jerry Brown asked, “How many people can get stoned and still have a great state or a great nation?” While some officials may be against legalization, the voters show overwhelming support.

5. Nevada
Name: Question 2
Chance of passing: Good

On November 8, voters in Nevada are able to vote on Question 2, which will allow recreational possession, use, cultivation, and possession of marijuana for those who are 21 years or older.

Contrary to the well known debauchery of Las Vegas, much of Nevada is conservative. However, Obama took the electoral votes in the state in 2008 and 2012, so there is a political shift at work that is causing the state to look more and more like California.

Even though policymakers are becoming more and more progressive and the fact that Nevada is renowned for its vices, not all legislators are for the idea of legalization. Harry Reid, a Democratic senator, declared that he would vote against the legalization of marijuana in Nevada. Republican Governor Brian Sandoval is also in opposition of the bill. Due to disapproval from legislators, the bill could face opposition from leaders if it is passed. For more information regarding states that could legalize recreational marijuana, [Click Here].