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These states legalized recreational marijuana on Election Day

Possessing small amounts of illicit drugs will no longer mean jail time in Oregon, and four other states legalized recreational marijuana on Election Day. USA TODAY

Americans were still waiting for clarity on the presidential race Wednesday morning. Perhaps lost in the frantic haze of election night was the legalization of recreational marijuana in four states.

Arizona, New Jersey, South Dakota and Montana all passed legislation Tuesday permitting the possession of weed by adults, which means 15 states have legalized recreational weed or voted to legalize it.

South Dakota and Mississippi passed initiatives to allow medical marijuana, which means 36 states permit the legal distribution of medical weed, according to a tally by NORML, a nonprofit marijuana public advocacy group.

Legal weed supporters argue that the enforcement of bans does more harm than the drug itself, swallowing up community resources while disproportionately affecting people of color.

Opponents caution against the widespread use and accessibility that could come with legalization, suggesting it could lead to unforeseen health effects or have a negative effect on young people.

Despite the slew of passages, marijuana stocks fell Wednesday morning, probably a result of the uncertainty of the presidential and congressional elections.

Oregon, which is already home to legal marijuana use, further relaxed drug laws, becoming the first state to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine. Proponents said the removal of punishments for nonviolent drug offenses and increased social services could help those dealing with substance abuse get their life back on track.

Now that weed is legal in four more states, when will residents be able to buy it? Here’s what to know about weed in Arizona, New Jersey, South Dakota and Montana.

Arizona

Proposition 207, which passed Tuesday, would legalize possession of as much as an ounce of marijuana for adults 21 and older and set up a licensing system for retail sales of the drug, starting with the medical marijuana dispensaries operating in the state.

Sales could begin in March under the measure.

Once the election results are made official Nov. 30, possessing and growing as many as six plants at home will be legal for adults.

The measure would allow people convicted of marijuana crimes, such as the felony charge for possession, to have their records expunged by the courts.

It would establish special “social equity” licenses for communities historically disenfranchised by marijuana laws.

New Jersey

In a ballot question Tuesday, voters overwhelmingly backed the possession, sale and use of marijuana for adults 21 and over.

But the drug will remain illegal until legislators pass a bill decriminalizing it.

Before marijuana users can light up at home without fear of arrest, the Legislature and Cannabis Regulatory Commission must pass either enabling legislation – which would formally direct law enforcement to stop arresting people for marijuana possession – or a decriminalization bill.

An alternative, which could happen shortly after results are certified, is a directive from the state attorney general’s office ordering police to stop arresting people under marijuana laws.

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said Wednesday that there would be no formal change to enforcement of the state’s marijuana laws until the Legislature and Cannabis Regulatory Commission passes legislationdecriminalizing the drug.

South Dakota

The narrow passage of Constitutional Amendment A legalizes the possession, transportation and distribution of up to an ounce of marijuana for adults 21 and over. The state resoundingly adopted medical marijuana.

Based on state law governing the process by which ballot questions take effect, voter-approved cannabis rules won’t become law until July 1, 2021.

Montana

A pair of complementary ballot initiatives that would legalize recreational marijuana use for adults were approved on Tuesday’s ballot, The Associated Press reported.

I-190 creates rules for marijuana use, including a 20% tax and the option for individual counties to prohibit dispensaries. CI-118 amended the state constitution to allow Montana to set the minimum buying age at 21.

Both measures needed to pass for recreational use to become legal.

Possession and use of weed would be legal starting Jan. 1, 2021, the bill says, and recreational sales are to begin in January 2022, The Associated Press reported.

Contributing: Ryan Randazzo, The Arizona Republic; Mike Davis, The Asbury Park Press; Joe Sneve, Sioux Falls Argus Leader; Great Falls Tribune staff

Where is pot legal? Four more states passed recreational weed laws Tuesday while South Dakota and Mississippi passed medical marijuana initiatives.

Who Voted For Marijuana In Wisconsin? We Have The Answer

Voters in 16 Wisconsin counties took to the polls to decide on a variety of marijuana ballot measures – and all 16 counties showed support.

By Scott Anderson , Patch Staff
Nov 6, 2018 11:18 a m CT | Updated Nov 8, 2018 11:00 a m CT

WISCONSIN — Voters in support of legalizing marijuana for either medicinal or recreational purposes have smoked their opponents in ballot measures in several southeastern Wisconsin counties on Tuesday night.

The 16 counties with the advisory referendum are Milwaukee, Rock, Dane, Sauk, Brown, La Crosse, Marathon, Portage, Clark, Langdale, Marquette, Eau Claire, Forest, Kenosha, Lincoln and Racine.

“While these referendums were only advisory, they show cannabis law reform to be more popular than many of the lawmakers who won in these areas. This should send a strong message to the incoming Wisconsin legislature that cannabis law reform – including medical cannabis, cannabis decriminalization, and cannabis legalization – must be a priority in 2019,” Eric Marsch, Executive Director of Southeastern Wisconsin NORML told Patch.

The The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML, is a Washington D.C.-based lobbying organization focused on the decriminalization of marijuana. NORML has regional offices, including in Wisconsin.

Marsch said that another huge victory for the pro-cannabis group was the election of Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul.

“Both are very supportive of medical cannabis and open-minded on recreational cannabis. The close margin in those statewide races means they both owe their jobs to the hundreds of thousands of cannabis voters who came out to support the referendums,” he said.

In a county-by-county check on election night, voters have overwhelmingly supported local ballot initiatives in 16 of the 16 counties.

Who Voted For Marijuana In Wisconsin?

Brown County:

Mount Pleasant-Sturtevant, WI | News | 2d

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“I thought we’d never get it,” Liz Uihlein, an outspoken critic of COVID-19 restrictions, told Uline employees. “Well, Trump got it.”

“Should cannabis be legalized in Wisconsin for medicinal purposes, and regulated in the same manner as other prescription drugs?”

Mount Pleasant-Sturtevant, WI | News | 2d

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  • 76% YES
  • 24% NO

Clark County:

“Should the State of Wisconsin legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes and regulate its use in the same manner as other prescription drugs?”

  • 67% YES
  • 33% NO

Dane County:

“Should marijuana be legalized, taxed and regulated in the same manner as alcohol for adults 21 years of age or older?”

  • 76% YES
  • 24% NO

Eau Claire County:

  • 54% – Be legal for adult, 21 years of age and older, recreational or medical use, taxed and regulated like alcohol, with the proceeds from the taxes used for education, healthcare, and infrastructure in Wisconsin?
  • 31% – Be legal for medical purposes only and available only by prescription through a medical dispensary?
  • 15% – Remain a criminally illegal drug as provided under current law?

Forest County:

“Should the State of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical purposes, if those individuals have a written recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?”

  • 79% YES
  • 21% NO

Kenosha County:

“Should the State of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical purposes, if those individuals have a written recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?”

  • 88% YES
  • 12% NO

La Crosse County:

“Should the State of Wisconsin legalize the use of marijuana by adults 21 years or older, to be taxed and regulated in the same manner that alcohol is regulated in the State of Wisconsin, with proceeds from taxes used for education, healthcare, and infrastructure?”

  • 63% YES
  • 37% NO

Langlade County:

“Should the State of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical purposes, if those individuals have a written recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?”

  • 77% YES
  • 23% NO

Lincoln County:

“Should the State of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical purposes, if those individuals have a written recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?”

  • 81% YES
  • 19% NO

Marathon County:

“Should the State of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical purposes, if those individuals have a written recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?”

  • 82% YES
  • 18% NO

Marquette County:

“Shall the County of Marquette, Wisconsin, adopt the following resolution? Resolved, that “We the People” of Marquette County, Wisconsin, support the right of its citizens to acquire, possess and use medical cannabis upon the recommendation of a licensed physician, and; Be It Further Resolved, that we strongly support a statewide referendum requesting Wisconsin to join with thirty-two (32) other states that have already approved the use of medical cannabis for the treatment of chronic pain, several debilitating diseases and disabling symptoms.”

  • 78% YES
  • 22% NO

Milwaukee County:

“Do you favor allowing adults 21 years of age and older to engage in the personal use of marijuana, while also regulating commercial marijuana-related activities, and imposing a tax on the sale of marijuana?”

  • 70% YES
  • 30% NO

“Should the State of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical [treatment] purposes, if those individuals have a written [treatment] recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?”

  • 83% YES
  • 17% NO

Racine County:

“Should marijuana be legalized for medicinal use?”

  • 85% YES
  • 15% NO

“Should marijuana be legalized, taxed, and regulated in the same manner as alcohol for adults 21 years of age or older?”

  • 59% YES
  • 41% NO

“Should proceeds from marijuana taxes be used to fund education, health care, and infrastructure?”

  • 81% YES
  • 19% NO

Rock County:

“Should cannabis be legalized for adult use, taxed and regulated like alcohol, with the proceeds from the Taxes used for education, healthcare, and infrastructure?”

  • 69% YES
  • 31% NO

Sauk County:

“Should the state of Wisconsin legalize medical marijuana so that people with debilitating medical conditions may access medical marijuana if they have a prescription from a licenses Wisconsin physician?”

  • 80% YES
  • 20% NO

City of Racine:

“Should cannabis be legalized for adult recreational use in Wisconsin?”

  • 66% YES
  • 34% NO

“Should cannabis be legalized for medical use in Wisconsin?”

  • 88% YES
  • 12% NO

“Should cannabis sales be taxed and the revenue from such taxes be used for public education, health care, and infrastructure in Wisconsin?”

  • 83% YES
  • 17% NO

“Should cannabis be decriminalized in the State of Wisconsin?”

  • 72% YES
  • 28% NO

City of Waukesha:

“Should cannabis be legalized in Wisconsin for medicinal purposes, and regulated in the same manner as other prescription drugs?”

  • 77% YES
  • 23% NO

A recent Marquette University Law School poll reported that 61 percent of likely voters in Wisconsin say marijuana should be fully legalized and regulated like alcohol, while 36 percent oppose legalization. The last time the poll was conducted in July 2016, 59 percent supported legalization and 39 percent were opposed.

Racine County Supervisor Nick Demske is part of a coalition of elected officials in Racine County that supports the legalization of cannabis in the area.

“As most know, there’s a vast body of research now pointing to the medical, social and economic benefits of legalizing cannabis,” he said. “There are a great many people whose families could benefit from medical marijuana being legalized in Racine County.

Demske said he’s heard from senior citizens suffering from chronic health conditions, parents with young children suffering from conditions that are well-known to be treatable with cannabis. He added that he’s heard from people who identify from all over the political spectrum.

“It was surprising to me at first, but I understand why that is,” he said. “Chronic illness does not discriminate based on a person’s politics. If you have to watch your child endure more than 100 seizures a day, and you read about how families are migrating in large numbers to areas where cannabis is legal so their children can live pain-free functioning lives, this is not a politically-motivated decision.”

The Counties

The Milwaukee County Board voted 15-1 in May to place an advisory referendum on Tuesday’s ballot. The advisory referendum reads: “Do you favor adults 21 years of age and older to engage in the personal use of marijuana, while also regulating commercial marijuana-related activities, and imposing a tax on the sale of marijuana?”

Municipalities in each of the 16 counties has a slightly different question on the ballot. Voters in Dane, La Crosse and Rock Counties in addition to Milwaukee are asking voters whether marijuana should be legalized for personal use for people who are a minimum of 21 years old. These referendums also ask whether the sale of marijuana should be taxed and regulated.

Meanwhile, voters in Clark and Brown counties will vote on whether medical marijuana should be regulated as a prescription drug. Voters in Forest, Kenosha, Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Marquette, Portage and Sauk counties will vote on whether marijuana use is OK if it is recommended by a doctor.

Eight states had marijuana ballot measures in front of voters: Michigan, North Dakota, Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, Utah, and Wisconsin.

Who Voted For Marijuana In Wisconsin? We Have The Answer – Mount Pleasant-Sturtevant, WI – Voters in 16 Wisconsin counties took to the polls to decide on a variety of marijuana ballot measures – and all 16 counties showed support.