Voters across the country are deciding today whether to relax long-standing marijuana prohibitions for both medical and recreational use, a potentially dramatic expansion of legal pot across America.
About 60 million Americans live in states that are considering allowing recreational marijuana, and another 24 million Americans could find themselves in states with newly legal medical marijuana use, a smaller but still significant expansion of legalized pot around the United States. Already, half of the states permit some form of medical marijuana use, and more than half of all Americans live in a state that has approved medical marijuana. Four states — Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Alaska, plus the District of Columbia — have already legalized recreational marijuana
Today, voters in Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada are considering legalizing recreational marijuana. Voters in Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota are asking voters whether to permit medical use for certain conditions, like cancer or chronic pain. None of those votes will change the federal ban on marijuana use, although legalization advocates say it may further pressure Congress, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the FDA to act.
Lawmakers see marijuana taxes as a source of new revenue to close budget gaps, while entrepreneurs are considering the business case, with potentially billions of dollars in profits possible from this fast-growing Made-In-America industry.
Here’s a quick guide to the measures, listed first by recreational and then by medical. (...)
Medical marijuana proposals
- -What would Arkansas’ marijuana law do? The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment of 2016 legalizes medical use for certain specified conditions, including cancer, glaucoma and fibromyalgia, and requires a doctor’s recommendation. The law would permit at least 20 and up to 40 medical marijuana dispensaries, although cities and towns could ban them if they want. Taxes paid by buyers would fund regulation of the medical marijuana industry, and home-growing would remain illegal — all marijuana would have to be grown at a state-licensed cultivation facility.
- -What would Florida’s marijuana law do? Amendment 2 permits the use of medical cannabis for specific conditions, including cancer, HIV/AIDS, and multiple sclerosis. A similar measure won a majority of support from voters in 2014, but Florida requires a “supermajority” to pass proposals like this. This proposal can only pass if it gets 60% or more support from voters. It would create a system of medical marijuana cultivation centers and caregivers, and use requires a doctor’s recommendation.
- -What would Montana’s marijuana law do? Montana’s voters approved medical marijuana in 2004, but the state legislature changed the law to significantly curtail it. The new plan, Initiative 182, allows doctors to recommend marijuana use for specific conditions, including chronic pain or PTSD. Also known as the Montana Medical Marijuana Act, the plan permits the creation of medical marijuana cultivation facilities and bans law enforcement from conducting surprise inspections of them.
- -What would North Dakota’s marijuana law do? Initiated Statutory Measure 5 permits the use of medical marijuana for specific conditions including cancer, HIV/AIDS and glaucoma, and would be overseen by state health regulators. People living more than 40 miles from a state-registered medical marijuana cultivation facility would be permitted to grow their own, and patients could have up to three ounces at a time. (Más)
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