Article by Trevor Hughes, USA Today
Nearly 60 million Americans may wake up Nov. 9 to find voters in their states have abolished long-standing marijuana prohibitions, a three-fold expansion for legal cannabis across the country.
Another 24 million Americans could find themselves in states with newly legal medical marijuana use, a smaller but still significant expansion of legalized pot around the United States. Already, half of the states permit some form of medical marijuana use, and more than half of all Americans live in a state that has approved medical marijuana.
California, experts say, will likely play the most significant role in cannabis legalization on Nov. 8. Voters in our most populous state are widely expected to approve the “Adult Use of Marijuana Act,” adding nearly 40 million names to the list of people who live in a state with legal pot.
Lawmakers see marijuana taxes as a source of new revenue to close budget gaps, while entrepreneurs are considering the business case, with potentially billions of dollars in profits possible from this fast-growing Made-In-America industry.
Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada are considering legalizing recreational marijuana. Voters in Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota are asking voters whether to permit medical use for certain conditions, like cancer or chronic pain. None of those votes will change the federal ban on marijuana use, although legalization advocates say it may further pressure Congress, the DEA and the FDA to act.