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Voters in nine states will decide whether to soften marijuana laws on Tuesday, marking the biggest Election Day in history for cannabis policy reform.

Five states — Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada — are voting on ballot initiatives to regulate and tax marijuana similarly to alcohol for adult use, along with possible big-money corporatization of the cannabis trade. Three states — Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota — are voting on measures that would establish new laws that regulate medical marijuana.

Montana is voting on a measure that would re-establish patients’ access to medical marijuana providers, which was hindered by state lawmakers, and create a more regulated system of medical marijuana production and distribution. (See links below for more information about each of the initiatives.)

Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington have adopted laws that legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana for adult use, and the District of Columbia has removed all penalties for private possession and cultivation of limited amounts of marijuana. Twenty-five states have adopted comprehensive medical marijuana laws that allow patients with certain qualifying conditions to access medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it.

“The record-high number of states voting on marijuana policy this year reflects the record-high level of public support we are seeing for ending marijuana prohibition,” said Mason Tvert, director of communications at the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “Voters from San Diego, California to Portland, Maine agree it is time to stop punishing adults for using marijuana. An even larger majority of Americans support legal access to medical marijuana, including both major party presidential candidates.

“These ballot measures are all big steps forward for the marijuana policy reform movement regardless of their outcome on Election Day,” Tvert said. “They have led to an invaluable public dialogue about marijuana, the harms caused by its prohibition, and the benefits of adopting a more sensible approach. The debate is steadily shifting from whether marijuana should be ‘legalized’ to how it can best be regulated and taxed for medical and adult use.”

For information about each of the 2016 election ballot initiatives:


Arizona Proposition 205 –

California Proposition 64 –

Maine Question 1 –

Massachusetts Question 4 –

Nevada Question 2 –


Arkansas Issue 6 –

Florida Amendment 2 –

North Dakota Measure 5 –

Montana Initiative 182 –

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