November 8th saw one of the most volatile and divisive elections in the history of the United States, and while the majority of the country is still in a state of shock over Donald Trump’s victory, others are rejoicing for a totally unrelated reason. This vote not only determined the next President of the United States, but it also included ballot measures for several states attempting to legalize marijuana in one form or another, either for medical or recreational purposes. Even though Trump won, the rest of the country won with these new cannabis laws.
It should come as no surprise that California legalized recreational marijuana. The state is one of the most populated in the country, and they were one of the first markets to allow medical marijuana. Proposition 64, which makes cannabis legal and taxable for adults over 21 years of age in the state of California, passed with a large margin. California has one of the largest individual economies in the world thanks to the entertainment industry, and it has been estimated that Proposition 64 will create an additional $1 billion in yearly tax revenue for the state. That revenue will be used to rebuild and update the infrastructure of the state.
Other reports show that the law could have an even larger impact down the road. By 2020, as much as $6.5 billion in annual recreational and medical marijuana sales might be a reality. If that holds true, Proposition 64 could end up being one of the most valuable ballot measures to ever pass in the country.
California is already in the middle of a horrible opioid addiction epidemic, and funds from the taxation of marijuana will be used to help combat that issue. Other programs funded by the new taxes will include systems for helping youths who have few advantages, as well as systems for treating and preventing chemical drug abuse.
California isn’t the only state with new cannabis laws after the vote on November 8th. Nevada and Massachusetts both passed recreational cannabis measures as well, and it looks as if Maine is going to pass a measure for legal weed as well, but the votes are still being tallied there. With the addition of these new states in the recreational cannabis movement, the total number of states that offer legal recreational cannabis has gone from four to seven. Marijuana is already legal in Colorado, Washington, Alaska, and Oregon. Recreational cannabis is also legal in the District of Columbia.
Unfortunately, not every ballot measure in favor of legalized cannabis passed the vote. Arizona had a measure for marijuana legalization on their ballot, but it did not pass, and was defeated by a margin of only five points. However, the future is promising for the state despite the law failing to pass. In Arizona, the measure was said to unfairly favor corporations trying to capitalize on the new weed boom.
Medical cannabis also saw a huge win during this election. Four additional states voted to allow medical cannabis, including Florida, Montana, North Dakota, and Arkansas. Medical marijuana was already legal in 25 states before the vote, which means that the addition of those four new states has pushed the majority of states to provide legal medical cannabis. Such a profound shift in public opinion is highly promising for the cannabis industry, which has been estimated to reach enormous levels if full legalization were ever to pass at a federal level. The market is only going to continue growing as more people learn the truth about cannabis and the benefits it can offer, and businesses are more than ready to profit from the change.