Cannabis Now: State by State Overview
Okay, it’s time to draw a line. Here goes a summary of state-by-state voting results and important dates for cannabis enthusiasts, business owners, and patients.
Unfortunately, after a long battle for cannabis, 52.2 percent of Arizona’s voters said no to Prop 205. Among other voting states, Arizona was the only one to fail legalization; however, it was a predictable outcome given the strength of opposition and serious funding and activity of anti-legalization campaign. Let’s hope for the next time!
In Arkansas, 53 percent said yes to Issue 6. It is the first state in the Bible Belt that voted for medical cannabis. Surprisingly, Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a former DEA chief and famous opponent, claimed that he won’t block the program and asked Arkansas lawmakers to secure $3 million for its implementation.
It was predictable, wasn’t it? Californians voted yes on Prop 64. The measure took effect on the next day after elections, although business needs to wait – retail licenses will be issued starting January 2018. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom dropped a hint that there could be temporary licenses until the law becomes fully effective. You can possess, use, and cultivate cannabis but can’t buy or sell. True story.
Amendment 2 passed with flying colors (and overwhelming 71 percent) and legalized medical cannabis in Florida. The new law is expected to come into full effect on January 3, 2017. However, before patients start to get legal medical cannabis, Floridians need to establish rules and regulations to make it work.
It was quite a fight! The results remained inconclusive until the end and anxiety stretched to a post-election day. Question 1 reportedly passed with 50.3 percent in favor, but an opposing side requests a recount and calls President-elect Trump to revoke the cannabis program. If advocates win, the measure will take 30 days to go into effect.
Massachusetts (54 percent) said yes to legalization despite the sound opposition of state leaders, including Gov. Charlie Baker. The law is expected to come into effect until Dec.15, but later, adults can possess up to 10 ounces of cannabis at home and 1 ounce of cannabis flower in public.
Initiative 182 reversed an infamous decision to shut medical dispensaries by imposing a three-patient limit. The new law requires cannabis providers to obtain a state license and prohibit law enforcement from conducting unannounced inspections of dispensaries. State officials themselves will inspect growers and vendors annually. Patients will need to get medical cannabis cards and renew them every year.
Nevada voters (54 percent) said yes to cannabis for adult use by approving Question 2. It would have an enormous effect on tourist industry because cannabis tourism has already proved itself popular – Nevada accepts out-of-state medical marijuana recommendation. The law comes into effect on Jan. 1, 2017.
Measure 5 passed fast and furious, gathering 63.7 percent of ‘yes’ votes. Medical cannabis in North Dakota became legal, and the State Department of Health has 90 days to implement necessary rules and regulations.