More states legalize recreational marijuana
SACRAMENTO, California – Reuters
REUTERS photoA ballot measure to make recreational marijuana legal for adults was approved in more states, including California, opening the most populous U.S. state to a burgeoning commercial cannabis market in a major victory for supporters of liberalized drug laws.
Proposition 64 passed easily in California as statewide returns from the election showed nearly 56 percent of voters favoring the measure and 44 percent opposed, according to results on Nov. 9 morning reported from more than 90 percent of precincts.
California was by far the largest of five states with ballot measures seeking to legalize the use of marijuana for the sheer pleasure of its intoxicating effects, and approval there extends legalization to the entire U.S. Pacific Coast.
Recreational marijuana was first approved in 2012 by Washington state and Colorado, and later by voters in Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia.
Victory also was declared on Nov. 8 by supporters of a similar measure in Massachusetts, giving legalized recreational pot its first toehold in New England.
Nevada voters also backed legalization for recreational purposes, but neighboring Arizona rejected a similar proposal. In the fifth state, Maine, the result was too close to call on Nov. 9 morning.
The Marijuana Policy Project, the nation’s leading organization supporting liberalization of cannabis laws, likewise projected passage of measures permitting medical use of marijuana in Florida, Arkansas, North Dakota and Montana.
Before Nov. 8, 25 states had already legalized cannabis in some way, whether for medical or recreational uses, or both.
Approval in California alone, home to 39 million people, means that almost a fifth of all Americans live in states where recreational marijuana is legal, according to U.S. Census figures.
It was the first U.S. state to legalize medical marijuana, doing so in 1996.