Press Release

Four States End Marijuana Prohibition, Three Adopt Medical Marijuana Laws in Historic Election

Nov 09, 2016

Four States End Marijuana Prohibition, Three Adopt Medical Marijuana Laws in Historic Election

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Contact: Violet Cavendish

Initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol in Arizona is narrowly trailing with many ballots still to be counted

WASHINGTON — California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada voted to end marijuana prohibition and Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota adopted medical marijuana laws Tuesday in the most momentous election to date for marijuana policy reform. Montana approved an initiative to 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.

As of 4:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday, an initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Arizona was trailing 48-52, and an initiative to improve Montana’s medical marijuana system was leading 56-44.

Eight states have now adopted laws that legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana for adult use, and 28 states have adopted comprehensive medical marijuana laws.

Statement from Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project:

“This is the most momentous Election Day in history for the movement to end marijuana prohibition. From Los Angeles to Boston, voters are casting their ballots in favor of sensible marijuana policy reforms. Today’s results are right in line with national polls showing record-high support for making marijuana legal.

“These votes send a clear message to federal officials that it's time to stop arresting and incarcerating marijuana users. Congress must take action to ease the tension between state and federal marijuana laws. Once this new batch of state laws takes effect over the next couple of months, marijuana will be legal in more than half a dozen states, and we expect several more to follow during the 2017-2018 legislative and election cycles. The end of prohibition is near, and it would be a mistake for the federal government to continue waging war on its own nonviolent citizens. How do you ask a DEA agent to be the last man to enforce a mistake?

“Most voters do not think otherwise law-abiding citizens should be criminalized for using a product that is much safer than alcohol. They want marijuana to be sold inside regulated, taxpaying businesses, not on the streets, where sales enrich cartels and drug dealers. There is a general consensus that law enforcement should be fighting serious crimes rather than enforcing failed and deeply unpopular policies.”

For information about each of the 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 –


Founded in 1995, the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) is the nation’s leading cannabis policy reform organization. MPP has played a central role in passing dozens of cannabis policy reforms in states across the country, including 14 successful cannabis legalization campaigns, and also works to advance federal reforms.

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