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Bud on the Ballot: California, 7 Other States to Vote on Marijuana

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on July 01, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The first dope dominoes that fell in Colorado and Oregon may start toppling more state prohibitions on marijuana. California, which last put recreational weed on the ballot back in 2010, will give it another go this November, as will four other states; and three more will put medical marijuana to a vote this fall as well.

Along with Congressional pressure on the DEA to reclassify marijuana, these waves are all part of a national sea change on the use, both medicinal and recreational, of pot to treat everything from cancer treatment nausea and post traumatic stress to a bad day at the office. So it's probably a good time to look at where state marijuana laws stand now, and what they might look like come 2017.

The Full Marijuana

California's ballot measure, the "Adult Use of Marijuana Act," would permit people 21 and over to possess up to one ounce of pot for recreational use and cultivate up to six plants. This exactly mirrors Colorado's law, and is more than the Oregon statute that limited cultivation to four plants at home. Here are the other proposals from states looking to legalize recreational weed:

  • Arizona: Age 21 and older; possession limit TBD; cultivation of six plants;
  • Maine: Age 21 and older; possession of one ounce; cultivation of six plants;
  • Massachusetts: Age 21 and older; possession of one ounce; cultivation of six plants; and
  • Nevada: Age 21 and older; possession of one ounce; cultivation limit TBD.

According to news reports, the prospects in Arizona look bleak and Maine's ballot initiative may get pushed to next year, while Massachusetts looks likely to legalize it and it's hard to imagine a Las Vegas without legal weed.

Prescription Pot

While many states are smart enough to follow the big bucks associated with recreational marijuana, other states are timidly dipping their toe into the realm of medical marijuana, perhaps hoping that will pave the way for further legalization efforts:

  • Arkansas: 21 and older, with a prescription; cultivation of 36 plants, as well as "cultivation, production, distribution, sale, possession, and use of the cannabis plant ... and all products derived from the cannabis plant";
  • Florida: Anyone with a prescription (and parental permission for minors); only "for individuals with debilitating medical conditions"; and only the Department of Health will register and regulate medical marijuana dispensaries;
  • Missouri: 21 and older, with a license; possession and cultivation limits TBD.

Whether these measures will pass is anyone's guess. Florida floated a similar proposal in 2014 only to have it shot down. In the meantime, keep an eye on this blog and FindLaw's Marijuana Legalization and Decriminalization Overview for the latest updates.

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