The 2016 presidential election was one filled with surprises, not the least of which was seven states voting to legalize cannabis for either medicinal or recreational use. This is the single biggest victory for the cannabis legalization movement, since 2012 when Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize cannabis for recreational use.
The states of California, Nevada, and Massachusetts each voted to legalize cannabis for recreational use by adults 21 and up. Florida, North Dakota, Arkansas and Montana have voted to allow cannabis use for medicinal purposes. The ballot measure in Arizona was defeated, and Maine’s results are still up in the air at this point.
Now, a total of 28 states have legalized cannabis in one form or another, and recreational use is now legal in 6 states. This is a very big deal for a couple of reasons. First off, these victories show that American attitudes toward cannabis have made a permanent shift toward the positive. Secondly, the stage has been set for the rest of the country to soon follow suit.
This also means the end of the drug war as we know it. In an interview with Bill Maher recently, President Obama stated that should these ballot measures pass, federal methods for handling cannabis prohibition would become “untenable.”
Now of course, the question is how the incoming Trump Administration will handle cannabis. Trump had said in the past that he supports leaving it up to the states, so it’s really anyone’s guess. One thing is for certain: the biggest winner last night was definitely cannabis.