One in five Americans can now smoke legal marijuana.
Seven states legalized marijuanain some form on Election Day. California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada showed up to support recreational marijuana, while Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota passed ballot initiatives legalizing medical marijuana.
As the governor of Colorado said at the time his state legalized recreational marijuana in 2012, users shouldn’t “break out the Cheetos” just yet. Sales are still a ways away.
Here’s a summary of when residents can light up legally in their states:
Residents with one of 17 qualifying medical conditions, including cancer, glaucoma, and fibromyalgia, may now buy medical marijuana legally with a doctor’s recommendation.
The bad news is, there’s no one to sell patients their medicine yet. A newly made state commission will start accepting licensing applications for dispensaries and cultivation facilities on June 1, 2017. It could be a year before the first retailer opens.
Residents of the one of the nation’s most pot-friendly states may now use, possess, and transport up to an ounce of marijuana — roughly a sandwich baggy full — for recreation starting immediately.
However, there’s no place to legally buy it until January 1, 2018, when the state begins issuing licenses to marijuana dispensaries that allow them to sell nonmedical bud.
Those eager to light up before 2018 can still do so by becoming a medical marijuana patient. And if you happen to find yourself in possession of a friend’s bud, that works too.
Florida broadened access to its existing medical marijuana program by adding 10 new qualifying conditions, including cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The Sunshine State will begin issuing identification cards for patients and registering dispensaries and cultivation facilities by October.
The most nail-biting ballot initiative of the election gave Mainers the right to possess a whopping 2.5 ounces of marijuana, more than double the standard in most other states. It goes into effect 30 days after the governor certifies the election results.
The state has nine months to develop regulations around licensing recreational marijuana dispensaries and “marijuana social clubs,” delaying retailers possibly for years.
Massachusetts, which made medical marijuana legal back in 2012, will allow residents to consume and carry small amounts of weed without a prescription beginning December 15.
The ballot initiative clears a path for marijuana retail stores to open in the state as early as January 1, 2018, which could bring in some $300 million in new tax revenue.
Voters gave a resounding yes to recreational marijuana in Nevada, where it will become legal to possess up to one ounce of non-medical marijuana, effective January 1, 2017.
Sales will take much longer to roll out. The measure directs Nevada’s taxation office to implement regulations by the end of 2017, in preparation for a 2018 retail launch.
Patients with one of a dozen qualifying medical conditions may have an unprecedented three ounces of marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation. If the resident lives 40 miles from a dispensary, they may grow eight plants for personal use. The law takes effect February 2017.