November 8, 2016 is the biggest day in the history of marijuana reform. Five states voted on marijuana legalization. Those states were of course California, Arizona, Nevada, Maine, and Massachusetts. Arizona’s initiative lost by tens of thousands of votes. California won by the biggest margin for a statewide marijuana legalization initiative to date. Nevada and Massachusetts cruised to sound victories.
Maine was also declared a winner, but by a very narrow margin. The narrow victory led to almost immediate calls from marijuana opponents for a recount. That recount officially started today at 9 a.m. EST. Per the Press Herald:
The rare statewide recount could take more than a month to complete and cost $500,000. It started at 9 a.m. in the Florian Room of the Maine Department of Public Safety in Augusta.
Question 1, which appears to have passed by a slim margin, legalized recreational marijuana for adults. Opponents requested the recount after unofficial results showed the question passed by a margin of less than 1 percent. The marijuana question passed by 4,073 votes (381,692 to 377,619), according to unofficial results from the Secretary of State’s Office.
Opponents say that with such a slim vote margin and seriousness of the new law, it’s important to make sure the results are accurate. Supporters of legalization say a recount will not change the results and the focus should instead be on implementing the new law.
California’s law went into effect the day after the election. Nevada’s initiative will take effect on January 1st, and Massachusetts will take effect on December 15th. Under normal circumstances, Maine’s initiative would take effect 30 days after the election results were certified and signed off on by Maine’s Governor. The recount will obviously delay that process. The initiative didn’t win by a large margin, but it won nonetheless. Marijuana opponents need to quit clinging to failed public policy and instead embrace the winds of change.