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Five States Most Likely to Legalize Cannabis in 2016

Thursday, October 20, 2016 9:43
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While we may be waiting a few more years to see the end of the drug war, there are certain steps in the right direction happening in 2016. Marijuana legalization may be happening in the following five states in 2016:


Maine’s Question 1 Initiative would create a taxed and regulated industrial cannabis market for recreational use by adults 21 years and older. The bill would legalize the following:

  • Possession of up to 2 1/2 ounces of marijuana
  • Cultivation and transportation of up to 6 flowering marijuana plants, 12 immature marijuana plants and unlimited seedlings
  • Possession of all marijuana grown from the marijuana plants at that person’s residence
  • A taxed and regulated system for a recreational marijuana industry


The Question 4 Initiative in Massachusetts would end the state’s prohibition of marijuana and create a regulated market for licensed businesses to sell marijuana to adults 21 years of age and older.

The aims of the initiative are to legalize:

  • Possession of up to 1 ounce outside of an individual’s residence
  • Possession of up to 10 ounces will no longer be criminalized inside of an individual’s residence, in an enclosed, locked space
  • A taxed and regulated system for a recreational marijuana industry

If passed, this bill would appoint a Cannabis Control Commission to oversee all government regulation of marijuana in Massachusetts.

It should be noted that legalization in this case does not mean decriminalization. Cultivating 12 plants inside of a single residence would no longer be criminalized, however, growing over 12 plants may be result in penalties to the homeowner. The sale of cannabis outside of the “regulated market” would also still be criminalized according to the Question 4 Initiative.


Nevada’s Question 2 Initiative is the most likely to pass. Since 2000, when Nevada first passed a medical marijuana initiative, there has been a widespread push for taxed and regulated cannabis.

The following would be legal for residents 21 years and older:

  • Possession of 1 ounce of marijuana
  • Anyone who does not live within 25 miles of a marijuana dispensary will be able to grow 6 plants without being criminally charged.
  • A taxed and regulated system for a recreational marijuana industry


Proposition 205, also known as the Legalization and Regulation of Marijuana Act, is very likely to pass with more than 100,000 medical marijuana cardholders already residing in Arizona. For adults 21 years and older, this would legalize:

  • Possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana
  • a taxed and regulated recreational cannabis industry
  • Cultivation of no more than 12 marijuana plants in an enclosed, locked space within a residence
  • possession of any marijuana produced by those plants in the location where it was grown

Passage of this legislation would create the Department of Marijuana Licenses and Control to oversee the regulation of the marijuana industry. A sales tax of 15% collected from marijuana sales would be allocated to school infrastructure, full-day kingergarten programs and more.


Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), would legalize the following for residents 21 years of age and older:

  • Possession of 1 ounce of marijuana or up to 8 grams of cannabis concentrates
  • Cultivation of up to 6 plants at a single residence
  • Industrial cultivation of hemp
  • A taxed and regulated system for a recreational marijuana industry

One interesting nuance of the California legislation is that there is a system suggested in the initiative to reduce sentences and expunge convictions of those who were arrested for marijuana. With support from Let’s Get it Right CA, Governor Gavin Newsom, the ACLU, NAACP, Drug Policy Alliance, Students for a Sensible Drug Policy, NORML and Marijuana Policy Project, California is likely to see legalization in 2016

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