Tuesday, 25 October 2016

5 states may legalize recreational marijuana use this year — here's what we know

Nearly half of the US has already legalized marijuana for either medical or recreational use. This November, nine states could continue the trend.

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Of those nine states, five have ballot initiatives that could result in legal recreational use. Most significantly, California could legalize recreational use — thus making the entire West Coast a legal enclave for recreational cannabis.

All the initiatives below will be voted on this November, alongside the presidential election. Here's everything we know:

SEE ALSO: Marijuana legalization is facing a major challenge from the alcohol industry

DON'T MISS: These are the 9 most popular weed strains in Colorado

1. Massachusetts

In Massachusetts on November 8, voters will choose yes or no on Question 4 — a bill to legalize the recreational use, possession, cultivation, and sale of marijuana. The bill calls for regulation along the lines of alcohol, if passed.

Though Massachusetts is a long-running blue state, the legalization effort in the commonwealth faces serious opposition from sitting leadership in both parties. Republican Gov. Charlie Baker and Boston Democratic Mayor Marty Walsh oppose recreational legalization. The two joined Attorney General Maura Healey in a Boston Globe op-ed this March opposing the measure:

"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.'"

All that said, a majority of voters support the measure, according to the current polling average on Ballotpedia. And two previous measures — to decriminalize use and legalize medical use — passed by a wide margin.

If it passes, the bill would fully legalize recreational marijuana starting on December 15, 2016.

Name: Question 4

Chance of passing: Good. The average of polls, according to Ballotpedia, is 50.4% support versus 41.9% opposed, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.



2. Maine

In Maine on November 8, voters will choose yes or no on Question 1 — a bill to legalize the recreational use, possession, cultivation, and sale of marijuana to adults over 21. Maine already allows for medicinal marijuana use.

Though Maine is a Democrat-leaning state, and this bill looks destined for passing with overwhelming support, several prior legalization efforts have failed. This time, things look more certain: Over $1 million was raised in pursuit of legalization in Maine, much of which was already spent gathering the signatures necessary to get Question 1 on the ballot this November.

Attorney General Janet Mills and Gov. Paul LePage both oppose legalization, but there appears to be no formal opposition groups for this November's ballot measure.

Name: Question 1

Chance of passing: Good. The average of polls, according to Ballotpedia, is 53.4% support versus 40.2% opposed, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.23 percentage points.



3. Arizona

In Arizona on November 8, voters will choose yes or no on Proposition 205 — a bill to legalize the recreation use and cultivation of marijuana.

If passed, regulation of marijuana would be handled on a state level, while regulation of individual retail stores would be handled on a town/city level. Legalization would only apply to residents age 21 or older.

Despite Sen. John McCain's support of legalization in the state, Republican Gov. Doug Ducey opposes the initiative. Overall, Arizona is an overwhelmingly red state and has been for decades. Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney took the state's 11 electoral votes from President Barack Obama in 2012.

That said, Arizona is a state with rapidly changing demographics — and with that demographic shift comes a political shift. Polling shows a close race in the battle over marijuana legalization, but the proposition, currently, looks as though it won't pass.

Name: Proposition 205

Chance of passing: Not good. The average of polls puts support at 45.74%, and opposition at 45.56%, according to Ballotpedia. With a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points, it's possible the proposition will pass, but it's not a sure thing.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider
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