New Recreational Marijuana States
It wasn’t all bad news on election night, several new states now have access to legal marijuana. Voters in Maine, Massachusetts, California, and Nevada passed recreational marijuana laws. Legal weed is now available to about 20 percent of adults in the United States. Until recently, recreational marijuana has only been available on the west coast and Colorado. However, the wave of recreational marijuana has finally hit the East Coast with states like Maine and Massachusetts. Both states had medical marijuana laws in place prior to this year’s election.
The vote for recreational marijuana in Maine barely passed with 51% of the vote. 49% were in opposition, the numbers were so close that opponents are pushing for a recount.Opponents only need to collect 100 signatures for the Secretary of State’s office to consider taking another count. Some opponents claim that the vote passed by a fraction of a percentage.
“The margin is razor thin, there are more than 375,000 people in the state of Maine that voted against this,” Newell Auger of No on 1 told WCHS. “It demands a careful, accurate result, and the idea that we are going to push on through when the margin is .005 [percent] is foolhardy.”
However, the latest recount has the law passing 381,060 to 376,658.
“We are talking thousands of votes difference,” countered Yes on 1 campaign manager David Boyer. “I just don’t see them making up that ground. Those votes can flip our way. We are ready to move forward with implementation.”
If the recount doesn’t happen, Maine voters can expect the right to grow, sell, manufacture, and distribute marijuana and it’s products. The state will be implementing a 10 percent tax and local governments can opt to implement local rules on retail sales. Within the next 40 days, adults will be able to carry up to two and a half ounces of pot and grow up to six plants. Maine and Massachusetts are the first two states on the east coast to go the recreational marijuana route. Maine’s state motto is “I’ll lead.” Hopefully the rest of the East coast follows their lead.
Despite having an anti-pot governor, Massachusetts voters decided to pass a measure called Question 4 which legalized recreational marijuana. Question 4 will tax the use and sale of marijuana similarly to alcohol. So, only adults ages 21 and up can purchase marijuana. Only an ounce is allowed in public but 10 can be possessed at your home.
Don’t get too excited though, retail sales aren’t scheduled to begin until 2018. When retail sales begin, out of staters will also be permitted to carry an ounce at a time. Tourism might rise in the Mile “High” City because few other places on the East Coast offer legal marijuana to visitors. Maine will be Massachusetts only competition in the East.
Local communities are looking forward to the expected boost in tax revenues and jobs created from the booming cannabis industry.
“A century-long mistake has been abolished!” Yes on 4 communications director Jim Borghesani told a crowd of supporters of the ballot question. “Voters chose fact over fear and rational arguments over hysteria.”