Three more states in the USA will join 25 others (plus Washington D.C.) after this week’s elections in legalising access to medical cannabis.
Ballot papers in Florida, Montana, North Dakota and Arkansas polled voters on whether patients should be allowed access to cannabis medicines, or to loosen some of the shackles on an existing, extremely limited program in the case of Montana.
Here’s how things panned out in each state:
Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment, Issue 6 (2016) supported legalizing medical marijuana for 17 conditions and the creation of relevant infrastructure and policies.
Yes votes: 53.17%
No votes: 46.83%
Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization, Amendment 2 (2016) supported broadening its practically non-existent program to individuals with specific debilitating diseases or conditions as determined by an in-state doctor.
Yes votes: 71.29%
No votes: 28.71%
Montana Medical Marijuana Initiative, I-182 (2016) supported a repeal of the three-patient limit for medicinal marijuana providers; which was making the existing program unworkable.
Yes votes: 57.63%
No votes: 42.27%
North Dakota Medical Marijuana Legalization, Initiated Statutory Measure 5 (2016) supported legalizing medical marijuana for the treatment of specific medical conditions such as cancer, ALS, glaucoma, and epilepsy; plus also the development of processes for marijuana cultivation and dispensing.
Yes votes : 63.66%
No votes : 36.34%
Victory was probably sweetest and most triumphant in Florida. A lot was at stake as the win had to be a convincing one – under state election rules, those in favour had to be a minimum of 60%.
The issue qualified for the Florida ballot in January this year when nearly 700,000 Floridians petitioned in favour of medicinal cannabis. Support for medical marijuana continued to grow, with a statewide poll in July indicating 77% of those surveyed supported Amendment 2.
At a federal level, it still remains to be seen in President-elect Donald Trump will be friend, foe or somewhere in between to medical cannabis. As we mentioned earlier this week, he is on the record as saying he supports states making their own legislation. His general attitude towards cannabis used medicinally is that he’s “in favor of it a hundred percent”.
(Hat tip to Ballotpedia for results)