Marijuana Dominated The 2016 Election

Marijuana Dominated The 2016 Election

Marijuana Dominated The 2016 Election

This election season wasn’t normal for a lot of reasons and it seemed like the one thing the country could unanimously agree on was marijuana legalization. Of the nine states that had marijuana on the ballot, eight of them passed. Four states voted to legalize some form of medical use of marijuana and the other five states legalized marijuana for recreational use. In 1996 California legalized marijuana for medical use, 20 years later more than half the states have some form of legal marijuana. Advocates hope that this upward trend will push congress to address marijuana reform more proactively than they have in the past.

More from Time:

A total of 28 states have now legalized medical marijuana, up from 25 before voters went to the polls. North Dakota and Arkansas approved medical measures, but Florida, the first to pass a marijuana legalization measure this year, is the big kahuna among this cycle’s cohort. (Montana voters also approved a measure that would loosen restrictions on the state’s medical program; voters legalized in 2004.)

Though markets for medical marijuana are generally smaller, legalization in the third most populous state presents a big economic opportunity and tilts the scales in a part of the country that has been slower to accept marijuana. “If Florida passes, that’s going to be a huge, huge thing for the East Coast,” Bruce Barcott, author of Weed the People: The Future of Legal Marijuana in America, said before the vote. “It’s a huge market.”

States will soon get to the business of setting up regulatory frameworks and preparing to issue licenses to cultivators and dispensaries over the next several years. Residents in some states will now be allowed to grow plants in their own homes and felons will have a chance to get their records expunged in others, if their previous crime is something that is no longer illegal. And as bureaucracies churn through change, money will come pouring in.

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