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Thursday, November 3, 2016

Marijuana Ballot Update 2016

By Thomas Eden

With only days to go until the Presidential election and with nine states voting on marijuana legal reform, these are the nine marijuana ballot initiatives up for vote on November 8:

Arizona: Arizona has had a medical marijuana program since 2010, but its voters will soon get to decide on Proposition 205 to regulate marijuana like alcohol for adults 21 and older.

Arkansas: Issue 6, known as the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment of 2016, would allow certain qualifying patients to access medical marijuana and create a regulatory system for cultivation, manufacture, and distribution of medical marijuana.

California: California’s vote on Proposition 64 will regulate and tax recreational marijuana like alcohol. It is expected that California’s recreational cannabis economy will be at least ten times larger than Washington State, which currently has the highest legal recreational cannabis sales.

Florida: Florida first tried, but failed, in 2014 to pass a medical marijuana constitutional amendment. Florida requires a 60% supermajority vote for constitutional amendments. The 2016 Use of Marijuana for Debilitating Medical Conditions ballot has clearer language regarding regulation and oversight of medical marijuana businesses, qualifying patients, and caregivers.

Maine: Question 1 is Maine’s recreational marijuana initiative. Maine has had medical marijuana since 1999 but Question 1 will legalize recreational cannabis for adults over 21 via “a tightly regulated system of licensed marijuana retail stores, cultivation facilities, product-manufacturing facilities, and testing facilities, and it will create rules governing the production, testing, transportation, and sale of marijuana and marijuana-related products.”

Massachusetts: Massachusetts has had regulated medical marijuana only since 2013. Question 4 will regulate and tax adult use of marijuana like alcohol, creating a licensing system for cultivators, manufacturers, and dispensaries.

Montana: Montana initially approved medical marijuana by ballot initiative in 2004. Initiative 182 will authorize the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services to register, license, regulate, and oversee “providers” of medical marijuana who may cultivate, manufacture, and dispense medical marijuana.

Nevada: Nevada already regulates medical cannabis but will now be voting on recreational marijuana. Nevada’s Question 2 will allow adults over 21 to possess up to one ounce of marijuana flower or one-eighth of an ounce of concentrated marijuana with Nevada’s Department of Taxation regulating its legal cannabis market.

North Dakota: Measure 5 proposes a program that “would create identification cards with specific criteria before they can be issued by the Department of Health for patients, caregivers, compassion centers and other facilities. The Act would create procedures for monitoring, inventorying, dispensing, and cultivation and growing of marijuana to be regulated and enforced by the Department of Health.

Common Sense Counsel: This should make your late night election watching just that much more interesting as the Millennial Generation continues to transition our society.

Tommy Eden is an attorney with the local office of Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP and a member of the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law and serves on the Board of Directors for the East Alabama SHRM Chapter. He can be contacted at or 205.222.8030.