The November 2016 election brought California, Nevada, and Massachusetts to the group of states that have legalized recreational marijuana. California’s vote to legalize the use and sale of recreational marijuana means that now the entire West Coast has joined together in legalizing marijuana for recreational use. California’s large population should bring some momentum to the industry opening it to such a largely populated state.
Florida, North Dakota, and Arkansas also voted to approve medical marijuana measures, with Montana voting to ease some of the highly restricted medical marijuana measures that are already in place.
Advocates for legalization of marijuana are thrilled with the progress the West Coast has made in the last few years, while there are some that are disappointed and worried about what this could mean for their state. Among those that are disappointed are law enforcement groups and anti-drug campaigns who think that legalization will mean danger for children, driving, and an industry whose main purpose is to sell an unhealthy drug to citizens. Law enforcement in California has pledged to work with lawmakers to create a driving under the influence policy that will most likely be similar to that of alcohol. Marijuana in California will also be highly restricted and taxed, like alcohol but will also not be allowed in most public places.
With the entire West Coast now legalizing recreational marijuana use the industry can grow and develop significantly within the next year. Massachusetts joining the group brings potential for the East Coast to grow in the industry will also be big this year. The hope for many is that the Federal government will eventually legalize marijuana on the federal level making it easier for new and existing companies to open bank accounts, take credit cards, and act as any other legitimate business.