In the shadow of one of the most divisive presidential elections in our country’s history, a second plot line could have big consequences for cities around the United States. Voters in nine states are considering expanding access to legal marijuana on Tuesday, November 8. Five states will vote on legalizing recreational weed: Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada. Four other states—Arkansas, Florida, Montana, and North Dakota—have medical marijuana on the ballot.
These elections could prove a tipping point for cannabis, especially if California’s Proposition 64–Adult Use of Marijuana Act passes. Already, about 50 percent of the states have legalized medical marijuana. Cannabis advocates believe that a win in California—where legalizing recreational weed is expected to pass—will open the floodgates for other states to follow. As Hadley Ford, CEO of cannabis-financing company iAnthus says, “The most important part of the upcoming election in November are in the states that are voting for recreational referendums to pass.” Ford goes on, “A referendum passing in California will be a big win nationwide as California typically tends to be the state that leads trends in the nation.”
Passage in America’s most populous state—California—would make pot legal up and down the West Coast and will likely give momentum to advocates trying to lift the ban nationwide. If voters legalize marijuana in Massachusetts, which is likely given recent poll numbers, it would make Boston a key Northeastern market for recreational pot.
And across the country, approval for legalizing cannabis looks like it has finally reached critical mass; a recent Gallup poll shows 60 percent of American adults now say that marijuana should be legal. Compare that to when Gallup first asked about legalization in 1969: only 12 percent of Americans supported the idea. If all of the November measures pass, the percentage of Americans living in states where pot use is legal could rise from about 5 percent to as much as 25 percent.
All of this points to legalized weed becoming big business. According to a recent report from the ArcView Market Research and New Frontier, pot sales in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and Washington, D.C.—the five places where recreational marijuana is currently legal—grew to $5.7 billion last year, up from $4.6 billion in 2014. That same report predicts that legal marijuana sales in the U.S. are expected to exceed $22 billion by 2020, with California leading the nation.
But beyond the potential tax revenue that could be coming to states across the country, how will the spread of legalized cannabis affect the American landscape? To answer this question, Curbed took a look at five ways recreational marijuana could change your city. read more at curbed.com
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