Voters in at least eight states, including Florida, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada, will decide on marijuana-related ballot initiatives this November. The most high-profile and far-reaching of these campaigns is California’s Adult Use Marijuana Act (Proposition 64), which permits adults to possess and grow small quantities of cannabis for personal use while also establishing a regulatory framework for the plant’s commercial production and for the taxation of its retail sale. It is estimated that these reforms will result in some $100 million annually in taxpayers’ savings while raising up to $1 billion in new revenue, much of which is earmarked to fund drug prevention and drug awareness programs.
Similar laws are already in place in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington state, and there is strong reason to believe that this year’s crop of initiatives will be equally successful at the ballot box. Nationally, 58 percent of Americans believe that “the use of marijuana should be made legal,” according to the most recently available Gallup polling. In California, 60 percent of registered voters say that they will vote in November to “legalize marijuana for recreational use under California law and allow government to tax” its retail sales, according to the results of a March 2016 Probolsky Research poll. The measure also has gained endorsements from California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), the California Medical Association and the California Democratic Party, among others.