The 2016 Election: A Semi-National Referendum on Marijuana Legalization?
On Nov. 8, 2016, people from Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada will vote not only for the next president but also for for the fate of pot legalization in their states, which have a combined population of nearly 60 million.
The Golden State of California has raised the most money to date — $7.1 million — to support Proposition 64, which would legalize marijuana statewide. Sean Parker, founder of Napster and first president of Facebook, has donated $1.5 million to the initiative campaign; Justin Hartfield, another tech entrepreneur and venture capitalist, has pledged $1 million. Campaigns in Arizona and Nevada have each raised more than $1 million.
If passed, the initiatives in Arizona, California and Nevada would allow people aged 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of marijuana. Maine’s Question 1 would permit ownership of up to 2.5 ounces. The measures also address public marijuana use: While Arizona’s Proposition 205 strongly prohibits public consumption or display of pot-based products, policies in California, Maine, and Massachusetts sanction public usage in licensed venues such as “cannabis cafes.”
According to recent polling results, pot lovers in California and Maine are most likely to win the battle of marijuana legalization on Election Day. A recent survey by Public Policy Institute of California showed that 60 percent of Californians welcomed the legalization of marijuana. Similarly, in a May, 2016, survey in Maine, 55 percent of residents voted in favor of legalization.