When Americans voted in the USA presidential election yesterday, they not only elected a new president, they also made decisions about another 150 important measures such as legalising recreational marijuana, the death penalty and climate change.
In what could prove to be the final blow to federal prohibition, five states voted to make cannabis legal for all uses. The recreational marijuana law was passed by voters in California, Massachusetts, Nevada and Maine, while Arizona rejected it.
California’s Proposition 64 –approved by more than 55% of the voters- is the most important measure on cannabis in USA, when you consider that this state is the 6th largest economy in the world. Analysts estimate the size of the legal market for marijuana in California at 2.4 billion euros and they predict it could grow to 5.8 billion by 2020.
Once Proposition 64 takes effect, cannabis will be legal for recreational use for all those over 21 years old. The possession of up to an ounce, the cultivation of up to six plants and a regulated system of licensed cannabis retail outlets will be authorised. The measure will also reduce the penalties for certain crimes associated with cannabis.
Massachusetts also voted for recreational pot. Question 4 includes the same measures as Prop 64 but adds the possession of up to 10 ounces at a private residence.
Nevada Question 2 will take effect on January 1st , when possession and personal cultivation will be legal to those 21 and older. However, cannabis retail outlets won’t be opened until 2018.
Finally, voters in Maine have approved Question 1 to legalise cannabis for all uses. There, the limit of possession is higher than the quantity in the other states: up to two and a half ounces.
In addition, measures about cannabis for medical purposes have been passed by voters in Florida, North Dakota and Arkansas.
This means victory for 8 out of the 9 cannabis initiatives up for vote yesterday, and although as yet it is hard to predict what line Trump will take on the issue, we can only agree with the statement from NORML yesterday: “What is certain is that federal prohibition is truly on its last legs and it is just a matter of time before federal policy is reformed to accept this new reality.