Yesterday there were nine states with marijuana legalization on their ballots. Five states -Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada – voted on the legalization of recreational marijuana use. In another four states - Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota – residents voted on legalizing medical cannabis.
Today, the results are in.
California, Massachusetts, and Nevada are now states with recreational marijuana. As of this writing, the Maine decision has not been confirmed, although there are reports of a tight race. Arizona voted against.
Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota all voted in favour of the medical marijuana measures on their ballots.
This vote is considered a major tipping point for marijuana legalization in the US. California makes up 12% of the US population and is expected to be a 6.5 billion dollar market alone.
There is now a large majority of states that have some form of legal marijuana use. Remember, marijuana is still a Schedule 1 drug in the US and illegal at the federal level. The overwhelming support may change that, forcing the feds to look at this issue more closely. President Obama said the current federal approach to the drug might be “untenable”, in a recent interview with Bill Maher. However, Trump’s position on cannabis is still hazy, so time will tell if reform at the federal level realistic.
In Canada, the Task Force on Marijuana Legalization and Regulation is expected to release a report by the end of November. This will shed light on the feedback from Canadians over the last 6 months and outline recommendations on how to move toward a legal and regulated model in Canada.
There is a considerable amount of momentum in the cannabis industry in North America. Employers and employees are encouraged to continue to educate themselves on this topic and proactively plan for the impact in the workplace.