Medical Marijuana

4 US States Approve Legalization Of Medical Marijuana

2016 US Election and Medical Marijuana

On Tuesday November 8th 2016, the world was glued to their TVs, laptops, PCs, smartphones and tablets, watching closely as the US Election unfolded. The race has largely been between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, despite other independent candidates being present. While every US state has been engaged in Presidential elections, a few have held a vote with the purpose of legalizing medical marijuana use. This decision is seen as having a great positive impact on the nation’s cultural and economic level.

This marks 2016 as a watershed for weed where its legalization shifted from an experiment to a prime product beneficial to patients. So far nine states have been able to vote towards the use of marijuana on different uses. Five of the states have voted for its recreational use while four of the states voted for its medical use. By Tuesday evening, seven of the states had passed a vote on marijuana-related measures, one failed while another has remained pending.

As of Tuesday evening, more than half of the US states have enacted comprehensive medical marijuana laws. This goes hand in hand with a fifth of the population residing in an area where adults aged 21 years and above can finally use marijuana legally not only for fun but also for medical purposes.

Adult marijuana use was legal in 4 states plus the District of Columbia just before the Election night. As of today, it has become legal in seven and during this time, the eye was on the Golden State – California. As the most populous state and sixth largest economy in the world, California outsized the rest and is viewed as the largest nail on the non-legalized marijuana coffin.

According to statistics, a handful of Congress members only lived in a state that had legalized marijuana. This was before the Election Night. After the major vote to legalize medical marijuana, around 100 Congress members now reside in marijuana legal states.

Marijuana wins big on election night 2016

medical marijuana bottle

4 US States That Legalized Medical Marijuana

State of Arkansas

On Election Night, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment which is also referred to as issue 6 was on the ballot as an initiated constitutional amendment. The good news is that it was approved marking a historic win. The Yes vote led to the legalizing of marijuana for 17 qualifying medical conditions. This led to the creation of a Medical Marijuana Commission, the allocation of tax revenue to technical institutions, vocational schools, workforce training and the General fund.

According to Ballotpedia, the number of Yes votes were 575,144 accounting for 53.17%. The number of No votes were 506,490 which accounted for 46.83%. This small margin can be compared to the US Presidential Election where Donald Trump became the 45th President of United States having defeated Hillary Clinton by a small margin too.

Before this huge victory, possession and use of marijuana was illegal in Arkansas. After the vote, Issue 6 has made marijuana to be legal for medical use. What does this mean? Marijuana will be available in dispensaries and cultivation facilities. State and local taxes on sales will apply on medical marijuana. Revenue collected will be used to cover administration costs while 50% will be directed towards Vocational and Technical Training Special Revenue Fund.

State of Florida

The Florida Medical Marijuana legalization initiative also referred to as the Amendment 2 was at the ballot on November 8th 2016. As an initiated constitutional amendment, it was approved. The Yes vote supported the legalizing of medical marijuana for individuals suffering from specific debilitating diseases or comparable debilitating conditions. This is determined by a licensed state physician. The No vote opposed Amendment 2 and would have kept the state’s more limited marijuana program in place. The Yes vote won by a total of 6,446,304 which accounted for 71.25% while the No votes were 2,601,215 which accounted for 28.75%.

The summary of the Amendment was to allow medical use of marijuana for individuals with debilitating medical conditions which are determined by a licensed Florida Physician. The law allows caregivers to assist patients’ medical use of marijuana. The health department will register and regulate centers that will produce and distribute marijuana for medical purposes and shall issue identification cards to patients and caregivers. This will apply to Florida law and it does not protect one from violations of Federal law or any non-medical use, possession or production of marijuana.

State of Montana

The I-182 also referred to as the Montana Medical Marijuana initiative was approved where the Yes vote won and repealed the three patient limit for medical marijuana providers. The Yes vote attained 247,097 votes which totaled to 56.56 % while the No vote attained 189,741 votes accounting for 43.44%. Thanks to the Yes vote, the State of Montana became the third state in the US to legalize medical marijuana allowing patients suffering from debilitating diseases to purchase and consume.

The Montana Medical Marijuana initiative was designed to amend the Senate Bill 423 renaming Montana Marijuana act to Montana Medical Marijuana Act. The act repealed SB 423’s requirements which required medical marijuana providers to have no more than 3 patient and the state review physicians who prescribed it to no more than 25 patients in a year. The act also repealed law enforcement from conducting unannounced inspections of medical marijuana facilities. For now, medical marijuana providers will be permitted to hire people who will cultivate, dispense and transport medical marijuana.

State of North Dakota

The Initiated Statutory Measure 5 also referred to as the North Dakota Medical Marijuana legalization was approved on November 8th 2016. The Yes vote supported the legalization of medical marijuana which will be used to treat defined medical conditions. They include cancer, AIDS, hepatitis C, ALS, glaucoma and epilepsy. The law will also govern the development of procedures for regulating the growth, dispensation and usage of medical marijuana. The No vote opposed its legalization and would have kept the state’s full prohibition of marijuana use. The Yes votes won with a total of 209,787 votes accounting for 63.66% while the No vote lost with 119,775 votes accounting for 36.34%.

4 US States That Legalized Recreational Marijuana

State of Nevada

The Nevada Marijuana Legalization Initiative, commonly referred to as “Question 2” was on the Nevada ballot on November 8, 2016 as an indirect initiated state statute. A vote of “Yes” supported legalizing the recreational use of one ounce or less of marijuana by individuals 21 years of age and over.

The initiative passed with “Yes” receiving 602,400 votes (54.47%). “No” votes were tallied at 503,615 (45.53%). Before Question 2 passed, the possession or use of marijuana for recreational purposes was illegal in Nevada.

State of Maine

The Maine Marijuana Legalization Measure, commonly known as “Question 1” was on the Election Day ballot in Maine as an indirect initiated state statute. A vote of “Yes” supported legalizing recreational marijuana for adults over the age of 21.

In what was one of the tightest votes of the entire 2016 election, it appears that the initiative has passed, with “Yes” receiving 752,246 votes (50.21%) versus “No”, which received 745,872 votes (49.79%). This is based on the latest information as the time of this writing, with 98% of the vote tallied. Prior to Question 1’s passage, medical marijuana was already legal in Maine, however, recreational was not.

State of Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Marijuana Legalization Initiative, sometimes referred to as “Question 4” was on the ballot in Massachusetts as an indirect initiated state statute. A "Yes" vote supported this proposal to legalize marijuana but regulate it in ways similar to alcoholic beverages.

The ballot initiative was successful and passed 53.59% (3,491,808 votes) to 46.41% (3,024,360 votes). Prior to this vote, marijuana was only available medically in Massachusetts. Now, individuals at least 21 years old will be able to use it, grow it, and possess it.

State of California

The California Marijuana Legalization Initiative, also known as Proposition 64, was on the California ballot as an initiated state statute. Many supporters called the initiative the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. A vote of "Yes" supported legalizing recreational marijuana for anyone 21 and older and established certain sales and cultivation taxes.

Prop 64 passed by a wide margin, garnering 56.04% support (4,957,215 votes), against 43.96% opposition (3,889,080 votes). Marijuana was previously allowed for medical use only in California.

Although the legalization of medical marijuana was a footnote to the Presidential Election where Donald Trump won with over 59 Million votes, President Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton expressed their support for legalization of medical marijuana.

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