American voters nationwide showed overwhelming support for cannabis legislation on Tuesday night; as a result, 28 states and the District of Columbia now have some sort of allowed cannabis use legislation.

California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada approved adult-use (21+) cannabis. Florida, Arkansas, North Dakota, and Montana voted to legalize or expand medical cannabis use. While it is unclear what position the new presidential administration will take on the country’s rapidly changing pro-cannabis landscape, the data is in: 21.4% of adult Americans will now have access to legal adult use cannabis.

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These new cannabis initiatives create a regulatory framework for cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, and dispensing that will require operators to obtain licenses to participate in these new legal markets. Some of the newly passed initiatives also allow for “home grow,” which means residents can grow a limited amount of cannabis for personal use.

the data is in: 21.4% of adult Americans will now have access to legal adult use cannabis.

Here is a breakdown of the new cannabis laws:

Adult use

  • California – With the passage of Prop 64 (56% to 44%), the total state market is projected to reach $6.5 billion by 2020, according to a report by New Frontier Data and ArcView Market Research. California has the 6th largest economy in the world, boasting a population of over 39 million. Businesses need to acquire a state license to sell recreational cannabis, and the state has until Jan. 1, 2018, to begin issuing sales licenses for recreational retailers.
  • Massachusetts – Passing with 53.56% of support, Question 4 created a regulatory structure called the Cannabis Control Commission; this agency oversees legalization, will create rules, and issues licenses.
  • Maine – A close call, the latest polls show that Question 1 passed 50.3% to 49.7%. This legislation regulates and taxes cannabis as an agricultural product, allows for the licensure of retail facilities and cannabis social clubs, and requires that growers be regulated by the state’s department of agriculture.
  • Nevada – Already home to medical cannabis regulation since 2000, Nevada voters approved question 2 (54.47% to 45.53%). The measure mandates that for the first 18 months of licensing, the Department of Taxation will only accept license applications for cannabis stores, production facilities, and cultivation facilities from registered medical cannabis establishments. Question 2 also set limits on the number of retail cannabis stores permissible in each county depending on the county’s population size.

    Medical

  • Florida– The passage of Amendment 2 (71.25% – 28.75%) expanded Florida’s medical cannabis program to allow more patients access, and loosened some of the restrictions regarding the type of cannabinoids that can be produced. Florida government enacted the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014 and it became effective on January 1, 2015. The program allowed for access to non-smoked, low-THC marijuana for qualified patients. Amendment 2 does not have limits on THC content, among other changes.
  • Arkansas – Issue 6, which passed 53.17% to 46.83%, legalizes medical cannabis for 17 qualifying conditions, creates a Medical Marijuana Commission, and allocates tax revenue to technical institutes, vocational schools, workforce training, and the General Fund. In addition, Issue 6 allows for the establishment and regulation of cannabis dispensaries and cultivation facilities.
  • North Dakota – Passing by 64%, Measure 5 legalizes the use of medical cannabis to treat certain debilitating conditions, and develops certain procedures for regulating medical marijuana growing, dispensing, and usage. Patients may petition the North Dakota Department of Health to add to the list of qualifying medical conditions.
  • Montana – Approval of I-182 repeals the existing three-patient limit for medical cannabis providers, and allows providers to hire employees to cultivate, dispense, and transport medical cannabis.

author: Revolution editorial team 

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Cassandra Dowell

Director of Communications at Revolution Enterprises
Cassandra oversees communications for Revolution Enterprises, a company committed to cultivating health through the science of cannabis. Prior to joining Revolution, Cassandra covered complex financial transactions and business trends within the cannabis and healthcare industries. During her time as a Chicagoland newspaper editor, she received more than 10 Illinois Press Association and Northern Illinois Newspaper Association awards for her coverage of mental health and housing issues.

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