Marijuana ballot initiatives 2016: Five more states may make pot legal
Either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will be a winner on Nov. 8, but in a number of states, pot smokers may come out ahead as well.
Election Day might be a major turning point for the marijuana reform movement because five states have ballot initiatives that would legalize cannabis for adult use, regulating and taxing it like alcohol. There are also campaigns in three states to legalize medical marijuana — which would bring the total to 28 — and a slew of local, citywide initiatives.
The vote to watch is in California, where polls suggest the “Adult Use of Marijuana” referendum has a substantial lead.
“When you see voters from San Diego to San Francisco coming together in support of this type of policy shift, it suggests that it is also likely to appeal to a broad swath of voters in other parts of the country,” Mason Tvert, a spokesperson for the Marijuana Policy Project, told Yahoo News. “At the federal level, it will inspire more members of Congress to take a closer look at the issue. At the state level, it will help legislators recognize the writing is on the wall and start thinking about their own prohibition exit strategies.”
A recent Gallup poll found that a record 60 percent of Americans support making cannabis legal. Here’s a breakdown of the key state votes:
Ballot initiative: Proposition 205 — The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol
What’s at stake: Proposition 205 would allow adults 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana, consume marijuana in private and grow up to six marijuana plants at home. It would also establish marijuana retail stores and manufacturing facilities licensed by the Department of Marijuana Licenses and Control.
Will it pass? Proposition 205 is supported by registered Arizona voters 50 percent to 40 percent, according to an Arizona Republic/Morrison/Cronkite News poll.
Barrett Marson, communications director for “Yes on 205,” told Yahoo News, “People are using it. People are buying it on the street. People are doing it illegally. It is time to end the failed policy of prohibition. In doing so, we can heavily tax and regulate the sale of marijuana. Eighty percent of the revenue would go to education funding here in Arizona … and the other 20 percent would go to drug and alcohol programs at the Department of Health Services.”
Ballot initiative: Proposition 64 — The Adult Use of Marijuana Act
What’s at stake: This would allow adults 21 and older to possess and consume one ounce of marijuana and eight grams of marijuana concentrates and grow up to six marijuana plants at home. It would also enact a 15 percent excise tax on all cannabis sales.
Will it pass? Proposition 64 is supported by registered California voters 52 to 41 percent, according to a SurveyUSA poll.
Jason Kinney, a spokesperson for “Yes on 64,” told Yahoo News, “I think that the arc of history, social justice and public opinion have been bending in this direction for a long time. … We’re still criminalizing thousands of otherwise law-abiding adults in California with nonviolent marijuana felonies. We’re giving criminal misdemeanors to juveniles. These are mostly communities of color, Latino and African-American, and there’s no reason to do that around a substance that is less harmful and addictive than alcohol.”