Legalization of Recreational Weed in California, Maine, Nevada and Mass.
While it’s not even possible to put into comprehensive words what happened on November 9th, there were some momentous political moments that resulted. Several states voted on laws concerning minimum wage pay, gun control, tobacco taxes, income taxes and, as we’re sure you’ve all heard by now, marijuana laws. For everyone who played a hand in making this happen, we raise a joint in your honor.
California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada all passed bills legalizing the recreational usage of weed, and Montana, North Dakota, Arkansas and Florida voted to legalize medical marijuana. Arizona was the only state whose bill for legalization of recreational weed didn’t pass, even with a slight majority. Prior, only 5% of the country could have legal access to weed. (A quick refresher: Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and D.C all allowed legal recreational use of weed.) Now about 20% of America can relish in their new freedoms. Within recent history, our country’s perception on weed has significantly changed; polls show a whopping 60% of the country supports legalization. This addition of both Democratic and Republican states legalizing it is sure to herald more flexible laws on the matter for the future.
Even Rhode Island said their future law-making depended on MA’s vote. Who knows, maybe some of you kiddos will be smoking weed in the Dome on graduation!
This up-and-coming industry is projected to profit quickly, with projections of $7-8 billion by 2020; with a decent tax rate, these states are going to make bank. What do these states intend to do with this new income, you ask? Free civil rights for all?
California (the haven for all-things weed) intends to put much of this tax money back into this new territory of recreational marijuana. With possibly $1 billion in taxes, significant amounts will go to public universities for research on legalization, efforts to help communities affected by the war on drugs, to help Highway Patrol to establish protocol on DUIs, research on medical marijuana, and other educational programs. Nevada, also bringing in $1.1 billion, has looser plans for general funds, including schooling and adult education programs around the drug. Maine intends to put the taxes into the general fund as well as educate law enforcement on the new regulations. Massachusetts, which will only make a meager $100 million, hopes to use the money to improve schools, veteran services, and law enforcement education.
So this is some good stuff, but will it stick? Our new president–elect, as on most issues, has differentiating opinions on this matter over the years. In an interview with Huffington Post, he is quoted saying the legalization of weed “should be a state issue,” which is the preferred outcome by those invested in legal weed laws. But the problem here might not lay with President *insert vulgar name of choice here*, but rather, Mike Pence, who is opposed to legalization laws. Like many things to come in the next four years, we are just going to have to wait and see how this unfolds.
Congrats to all who were invested in this wave of legislation. And if you’re from California, you might want to see if there is a gardening class offered while you register this week, but don’t forget, only 6 plants max!