All eyes were on Washington and Colorado in November of 2012 as both states had initiatives on their ballots to legalize the recreational use and possession of marijuana. Surprisingly, both states’ initiatives passed by almost identical margins (56% – 44%, roughly) on November 6, 2012. Immediately, these two states became “guinea pigs” for the entire country. How would legalization work? How would it affect crime? How would it be enforced? How would licensing for retail sales be overseen? Understandably, there were lots of questions to be answered.
In the two and a half years since these laws passed in Colorado and Washington, many of those questions have been answered. The State of Colorado, for example, has regulated recreational marijuana much like alcohol – it is illegal to buy or possess cannabis if you’re under 21, and driving under the influence of THC (the active ingredient) is illegal. In the first 11 months after legalization, Colorado saw a decrease in both traffic fatalities and violent crime. The marijuana industry also generated millions of dollars in tax revenue for the state. As a result, Alaska, Oregon, and the District of Columbia have all legalized the recreational use of marijuana and several more states seem poised to follow suit.
In 2010, the residents of the State of California voted against legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. However, support for passing such a law has grown in the state, and it now has an initiative in the works for the 2016 election. California was the very first state to legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes, so it wouldn’t be too surprising to see it pass recreational use laws in 2016 despite the 2010 outcome.
According to Time magazine, on March 13, 2015, “Nevada lawmakers adjourned without voting on a petition submitted…to legalize marijuana…” That adjournment resulted in the issue being put on the ballot for the 2016 election. Nevada will be the very first state to vote on the issue in the 2016 election, and marijuana advocates are fairly confident in their ability to get the law passed.
Marijuana advocates are focusing a lot of their attention on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. While Massachusetts just recently (2012) approved laws legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes, it is believed that a ballot initiative for the legalization of recreational use would pass in the state in 2016. While polling results show that a high percentage of voters are in favor of legalizing marijuana for recreational use, Governor Baker has not been shy about voicing his opposition.
Even though Colorado and Washington have paved the way for the legalization of recreational marijuana nationwide, it is difficult to know how the people will vote. If you’d like to work in the marijuana industry, please contact Ms. Mary Staffing today.