Millions of people, not only in the USA but also around the world, watched the 2016 US presidential election with bated breath. The vast majority were anxious to see whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump would become the next US president, but some were waiting for a different sort of victory.
On November 8, some Americans were voting for something else besides who would be the next president. California, Arizona, Nevada, Massachusetts and possibly Maine were deciding on whether or not cannabis should be fully legal, allowing it for recreational use1. Florida, Montana, North Dakota and Arkansas were deciding on whether it should be used for medical use only. All four states with proposed medical use-only legalisation voted in favour of the herb; while all states voting on recreational use approved their measures except for Arizona.
So what does this mean for each state where cannabis “won” the election, considering that their laws are different? In California2, as in others, different aspects of the new cannabis laws come into effect at different times. Since November 9, the day after the vote, residents have since been able to legally grow up to six plants for personal use, possess and give away up to 28.6 grams of flower or 8 grams of concentrate, and consume these privately. Commercial licenses will begin to be issued from January, 2018. However, public use, possession with the intent to sell and underage (under 21) consumption will stay illegal.
Like California, possession, private use and home-growing will be the first things to become legal in
Nevada3, but this will not come into effect until January 2017. Residents of Nevada are limited to possession of up to 1 ounce of flower and up to 1/8 of an ounce (3.5 grams) of concentrate, but are allowed up to 12 plants (6 per person) in each house. The first commercial licenses will also be given in January 2018.
The law in Massachusetts4 begins to take effect on December 15. From then, adults over the age of 21 are able to possess up to 10 ounces of flowers at home, and one ounce in public, as well as 5 ounces of concentrates at home. However, public consumption will be forbidden, like other states. Each household is also able to grow up to 6 plants each. License applications for dispensaries and other establishments will be accepted until October.
Maine5 is less certain, with their measure only getting the majority of votes by a fraction and opponents pushing for a recount. If it is approved, those living in Maine will be allowed to possess up to 2.5 ounces/70 grams of cannabis, and grow up to 6 flowering plants, 12 immature plants and any number of seedlings (which will all need to carry the person’s name and driver’s license number). They will also be able to give away cannabis and plants, and consume the herb in private places. Retail stores would open from mid-2017 at the earliest.
What does this mean for Elixinol, where we only sell extracts made from hemp, which does not contain psychoactive levels of THC? Although legal in all 50 states, the legalisation of even psychoactive cannabis may improve perceived accessibility of our extracts. Some people under prohibition may fear seizure or arrest if they even attempt to order hemp products because of misunderstandings. And besides, and end to cannabis prohibition is a win for personal freedom.
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