Special Report

5 States Voting to Legalize Marijuana

Source: Thinkstock

4. Massachusetts
> Ballot name: The Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act
> Amount decriminalized: 1 oz or less
> Max. fine for 1 oz or less: $100
> Pct. adults using in past year: 17.4%

Massachusetts voters will have an opportunity to legalize recreational marijuana use through a ballot initiative this November. The initiative, known as The Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act, or Question 4, would end marijuana prohibition in the Bay State. Proponents of legalization in Massachusetts argue that an end to prohibition will unclog the state’s justice system, bring in at least $100 million in tax revenue, and possibly help combat the state’s opioid addiction epidemic.

Voters in Massachusetts are far less likely than most Americans to perceive marijuana use as inherently risky. Only 19.7% of adults in the state associate great risk with monthly pot use, a considerably smaller share than the 27.8% of Americans 18 and older who consider marijuana use as risky.

Las Vegas, Nevada skyline
Source: Thinkstock

5. Nevada
> Ballot name: Nevada Marijuana Legalization Initiative
> Amount decriminalized: N/A
> Max. fine for 1 oz or less: $600
> Pct. adults using in past year: 12.9%

On Tuesday, voters in Nevada will decide whether or not to legalize marijuana. If passed, the Nevada Marijuana Legalization Initiative, known as Question 2, would legalize possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana, regulate production and sales of the drug, and establish a 15% excise tax on bulk marijuana sales. Most states voting to legalize marijuana this election have already decriminalized the drug. Nevada, on the other hand, classifies marijuana possession offenses as a misdemeanor.

Nevada legalized medical marijuana use in November 2000. The first medicinal dispensary in the state opened in August of 2015, and today there are 45 throughout the state. In the most recent survey, 12.9% of adults in Nevada reported using marijuana in the past year, in line with the national share. If the ballot initiative passes, it is highly likely that marijuana use will increase in Nevada.