-by Ethan Andersen
November 8th was a major step forward for the U.S. cannabis industry, with California, Nevada, Massachusetts and Maine passing legalization ballot measures that allow for the recreational use of cannabis in their states. The impact that the various measures’ passage will have on the cannabis space, taxpayers, entrepreneurial ventures, and general business will be tremendous, and despite the heavily anti-marijuana administration that seems to be coming in, individual states’ industries can expect to see a great deal of growth.
Here’s a review of the states that passed full legalization ballot measures on November 8th:
California voters approved Proposition 64-- 5,058,404 (56.1%) to 3,963,575 (43.9%)-- on Tuesday night, making CA the 5th state to legalize recreational marijuana. The vote took place 20 years after California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996.
Aaron Herzberg, Partner & General Counsel, CalCann Holdings:
"In 1996, California became the first state to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes. Approving recreational marijuana in California, the sixth-largest economy in the world, and a state that often sets the trend nationwide, is the death knell of a failed policy of prohibition. California is now poised to rightfully take back its place from Colorado to become the rightful silicon valley of Marijuana."
Question 2, a marijuana legalization measure approved by Nevadans on Tuesday night, allows for the legal possession of one ounce or less of cannabis by adults 21+. Nevada legalized medical marijuana in 2000.
Paul Rosenberg, CEO of MCIG, a Nevada-based public company:
"Nevada is already one of the fastest growing cannabis markets in the United States. Given the recreational measure’s passage in this market ripe with international investors and restrictive licensing, investors will expedite cultivation infrastructure build outs at a more rapid pace in order to meet supply and demand, which on the medical side is already at a supply deficit."
Winning over 53% of the popular vote, Massachusetts’ Question 4 passed on Tuesday night, legalizing the adult recreational use of marijuana while regulating it in a manner similar to alcoholic beverages. Before Question 4 passed, marijuana was only allowed for medicinal use in the state.
David Bienenstock, Head of Content for High Times:
"Massachusetts voters have once again proven that cannabis legalization is not only a moral imperative, it's also extremely popular public policy. No longer can our elected officials defend the government's self-destructive and utterly failed War on Marijuana. This is a huge win for public safety, civil rights, personal liberty and sound governance."
Maine’s Question 1 passed by a narrow margin on November 8th, allowing adults over the age of 21 to use marijuana on a recreational basis without fear of persecution. Governor Paul LePage has said he might challenge the results, depending on if Trump’s administration intends to enforce federal law against marijuana possession.
Mike Bologna, CEO of Green Lion Partners:
"By passing adult use cannabis legislation in both Maine and Massachusetts, New England established itself as a leader for the East Coast. The positive social and economic benefit that these victories offer will be shared by all residents of the region as well as the significant number of tourists who enjoy traveling to these gorgeous states. The passing of Question 1 was another progressive step taken by the residents of Maine to create a positive and welcoming environment."
Ethan Andersen is a drug law reform advocate and political consultant. Owner of Andersen Political Services LLC, Ethan focuses on developing progressive solutions to problems impacting disenfranchised populations nationally.
There were also 4 medical marijuana initiatives on the ballot on Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota, all states that went for Trump. The initiatives passed in all 4 states. The only cannabis loss last week was in Arizona where the vote to legalize it was pretty close-- 1,057,839 (51.9%) against to 978,433 (48.1%) in favor. We've asked Ethan to do a post for tomorrow about how the cannabis industry sees the threats coming from a Trump administration that has appointed anti-marijuana fanatic Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, the same Jeff Sessions who once said he liked the KKK members he knew well enough-- until he discovered that they smoke weed.