The 2016 Election ushered in a new era in the marijuana world. 2012 saw the first states legalize recreational marijuana (Colorado and Washington). I will never forget the feeling in Denver the day after the 2012 Election. I was at the first ever Marijuana Business Conference and Expo hosted by Marijuana Business Daily back then, along with many other marijuana movement members. We all kept giving each other that look of ‘can you believe this is true!?’ the entire event. We were living in a post prohibition society, even if it was just in two states. For the record the event is in its fifth year, and had over 10,000 people attend it this year I’m told, up from 300ish the first year!
2014 was particularly fantastic for me personally because its when Oregon voted to legalize recreational marijuana, along with Alaska and Washington D.C.. I have been experiencing the benefits of legalization ever since. The 2016 Election had a different feel. Whereas the other elections were definitely significant, 2016 felt like the ‘beginning of the end’ for prohibition in America. Since Election Day a number of states have started exploring the idea of legalization. There have also been increased calls for the feds to end federal prohibition too.
The marijuana reform movement snowball is bigger than ever, and seems to get bigger every day. That has led to a lot of people asking the question ‘which states have legal marijuana?’ It’s a simple question, but as with most things marijuana related, the answer is not straight forward. 8 states and Washington D.C. have voted to legalize marijuana, however, not all of the states have implemented legalization.
As it stands right now, marijuana is legal in California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Colorado, and Washington D.C. for recreational purposes. Nevada legalization will not take effect until January 1st, 2017. Although it’s worth pointing out that Reno and Clark County (which includes Las Vegas) have already stated that they will treat marijuana as if legalization is already in effect. Massachusetts’ legalization initiative will take effect on December 15, 2016.
Maine is the wild card, in that legalization does not take effect there until ’30 days after the Governor certifies the election results.’ Maine’s Governor does not like marijuana legalization. You can now also add to that a pending vote recount request by marijuana opponents in Maine. Even if the Governor certifies the election results, the legal challenge could delay implementation.
That’s the scoop on recreational states. There are currently 28 states that have legalized medical marijuana, although not all of them have implemented their laws. For instance the 2016 class of medical states (Arkansas, North Dakota, and Florida) have approved medical marijuana, but those initiatives have not taken effect yet. There are many states that do not permit medical marijuana home cultivation and/or don’t have any dispensaries open. In those states, marijuana is technically legal in some instances, but a person wouldn’t be able to tell that by looking at the current situation, if that makes sense. For an up-to-date list of medical marijuana states, including those that have CBD-specific laws, I suggest checking out NORML’s website. There’s lots of good info over there!