What the American Vote Means for U.S. Cannabis Legalization

On Tuesday 8th November, America went to the polls and, love him or hate him, voted Donald Trump in as the 45th President of the United States. But the Presidency wasn’t the only thing being voted on this week. Americans also went to the polls to have their say when it comes to the legalization of marijuana, for either medical or recreational purposes. And it might be clearer than ever that Americans are ready to lift the prohibition on cannabis.

Like many other policy matters, the legalization of marijuana is one that Trump has gone back and forth on during his political run. Most recently he called the marijuana industry of Colorado “a real problem,” but he’s also stated that he’s “in favor of medical marijuana 100%,” saying that he’s known people who have needed and used medical marijuana and that it’s helped them tremendously.

But even with his tough stance on Colorado, Trump is not completely against the legalization of recreational marijuana. Earlier in the year, he told The Washington Post,

“In terms of marijuana and legalization, I think that should be a state issue, state-by-state. Marijuana is such a big thing. I think medical should happen, right? Don’t we agree? I think so. And then I really believe we should leave it up to the states.”

So what about those individual states? In total, there were 9 states that voted on the fate of florida marijuanamedical and recreational marijuana within those individual states, and here are the results.
• Florida. Florida was voting on the Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative,
Amendment 2. The proposed law would allow doctors to prescribe marijuana to patients suffering from cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, PTSD, Crohn’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, ALS, multiple sclerosis, or “other debilitating medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to those enumerated.” The proposition saw a landslide victory with 71.1% voting in favor of it.

• Arizona. Arizona voted on Prop 205, which would allow the dispensaries already selling medical marijuana in the state to sell recreational marijuana as well. In addition to that, adults over the age of 21 would be allowed to grow up to six plants, although a 15 percent tax would be levied on each plant. At the end of the night, the vote was a resounding “No” and the proposition did not pass.
• Arkansas. Arkansas was voting on the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment, a bill that arkansas marijuanawould make medical marijuana legal for 17 qualifying conditions. The bill also states that the Medicinal Marijuana Commission would be created, with tax revenue going towards technical institutes, vocational schools, and the General Fund. The bill was passed with a reported 53% of voters casting their ballot in favor of the Amendment.
• California. California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana two decades ago back in 1996. But it wasn’t until Tuesday’s vote that the state voted on legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes. In California it’s known as Prop 64, which would legalize marijuana and hemp under state law, as well as place a 15 percent sales tax, and a cultivation tax on it. The Proposition was passed with a reported 55% of voters in favor of it.

• Maine. Mainers were voting on the Maine Marijuana Legalization Measure on Tuesday, which would fully legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis. The state was so divided that the final count couldn’t be tallied until early Wednesday morning. When all the ballots were sorted, Maine passed the measure with just 51% of the votes.

• Massachusetts. Those in Massachusetts were voting on Question 4 when it came to the legalization of marijuana – specifically, holding fewer than 10 ounces in their home and up to 1 ounce in their home. Just squeaking in, voters voted in favor of it by 53%.
• Montana. Montana already had legal medicinal marijuana throughout the state, but voters were still voting on medical issues. Voters were largely trying to missouri marijuanaoverturn a law that went into effect in August, stating that medical marijuana providers could only serve three patients at a time, pushing many patients towards illicit means anyway. At the end of the vote, Montana voters showed 57% were in support of changing the laws once again.

• Nevada. Nevada voted on the Nevada Marijuana Legalization Initiative, which called for the legalization of marijuana, both for medicinal and recreational purposes. The initiative was passed with 54% in favor of the initiative.


North dakota North Dakota. The North Dakota Compassionate Care Act, or Initiated Statutory Measure 5, said that it would set up non-profit compassion centers, which would make medical cannabis open to patients with any one of the disqualifying conditions on the long list. The law was passed with 64% of voters in favor of the law.


A total of 9 states had some form of marijuana reform on their ballots on Tuesday evening, and all but one of them have voted in favor of medical or recreational marijuana, or both. These results clearly show that the prohibition on marijuana in the United States is something that’s becoming more and more outdated, as people continue to see the value that marijuana holds.

2 thoughts on “What the American Vote Means for U.S. Cannabis Legalization”

  • Minei Kiefer

    How fustrating for we, the State of Hawaii that passed the medical use of canabis over 16 years ago. We were one of the first 5 states to do so. Yet to this day, Nov. 17th, 2016, we still do not have a single dispensary. We have to pay any where between $45 - $175 for a Medical Blue Card. That allows one to grow no more than 7 plants. Have no more than an ounce of usable cannabis. Our Dept. of Health is directly involved and that is the reason for such a non-progressive program. Always putting up road blocks, always finding a way for the people that need or want it to not get it. Leaving the cannabis laws to decide within their state sounds fair until it is put in the hands of the most incompetent, back-assward Dept. in our state. We can grow outdoors and indoors all year. No reason for this to happen for 16 years. All that tax money for our runned down schools, pot hole riddled treats and highways, ect. Millions of lost revenue because of the ignorant leadership in Hawaii. My home. Tsk Tsk.

  • Kathleen Hunter

    If Trump does not legalize or decriminalize on a federal level, states will always lose. If it is legal on a state level only medically, health insurance will never cover dr visits or medication, making it too costly for many on fixed incomes and medicare because on a federal level it is still very much unlawfull to posses. I live in Florida, and the cost to get in any program is too high for most to afford on a fixed income, so many will not benefit from the legal substance unless they obtain it illegally or not at all, or give up needed healthy food for the medicine. Wow.....thanks for nothing Trump!

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