Three more states now join the list of places in the United States where recreational marijuana is legal, as voters in California, Massachusetts and Nevada approved the measure. Maine and Arizona, the two other states with recreational marijuana on their ballots, are still awaiting final results.
In four other states, medical marijuana got the nod as residents in Arkansas, Florida and North Dakota passed its legal status. In Montana, voters agreed to lift provider restrictions on current medical marijuana laws.
These steps mean that medical marijuana is now legal in over half of US states, and recreational marijuana in seven states so far.
Recreational pot is already legal in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and the District of Columbia.
In a Gallup poll released last August, the number of American adults almost doubled in the past three years, CNN reports. According to the National Survey on Drug Use, cannabis is the number one illegal drug of choice in the country, although only a third of respondents reported addiction, unlike with other banned drugs commonly used.
So far, the states that have agreed to recreational cannabis use seem to have experienced a boost in their economies. In Colorado alone, the marijuana industry created 18,000 jobs last year and brought in $2.39 billion to the state’s coffers, according to the Marijuana Policy Group.
However, reports of increased emergency room visits due to marijuana use have also been documented in the same states. Also in Colorado, unintentional child exposure to pot has resulted in more hospital visits, and calls to poison control centers have risen.
California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996. As the USA’s most populated state, legalizing recreational marijuana is expected to make a national impact. People over the age of 21 can now use cannabis freely, though there is a 15% sales tax and taxes on cultivation, too.
In Massachusetts, medical marijuana was legalized in 2012. Now, residents older than 21 can use, possess and grow cannabis, with appropriate taxes and under regulations. The maximum limit is 10 ounces in a home, six plants grown, and under one ounce possessed in public.
Nevada’s voters said yes to the use of one ounce or less for people 21 years old and above. Medical marijuana was legalized in 2000, and the new law now allows stores, manufacturers and distributors to begin business. There is a 15% excise tax on the drug, but people can grow up to six plants in locked, enclosed spaces away from schools and community facilities.