All the States Voting on Legalizing Recreational Marijuana in 2016



Arizona, California, Nevada, Maine and Massachusetts have the opportunity to legalize cannabis this year.

Daniel Oberhaus, Michael Sol Warren, Meredith Rutland Bauer

United States of Weed demystifies all the cannabis legislation for Election 2016. Learn about states voting on medical marijuana here.

This is a critical time for marijuana legislation in the US. There are more people openly using marijuana than ever before, and fewer people think it's risky. Marijuana arrests are dropping, and there is a countrywide push to decriminalize cannabis so that our overburdened prison system isn't full of minor drug offenses.

Even so, the fight is hardly over. The federal government continues to classify marijuana as a Schedule I drug, which means they still think it has high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use.

Motherboard reporters looked at the five states that could legalize recreational cannabis this year, and how they fit into the national trend.

Note: This map includes states that have legalized cannabidiol oil (CBD) as a medical treatment in its definition of legalized medical marijuana. It's important to note that some of this legislation can be severely limited, and inaccessible to many patients.


If Proposition 205 passes, it would legalize the possession and use of up to one ounce of marijuana for adults over the age of 21, as well as the ability to grow up to six marijuana plants in a household. The passage of 205 would also establish the Department of Marijuana Licenses and Control, which would regulate everything from the testing to the sale of recreational marijuana in the state.

Read more about Proposition 205 here.


If passed, Proposition 64 would legalize recreational marijuana use and minor possession of less than a gram for adults 21 and older. Sales, distribution, agriculture and other facets of the recreational marijuana industry would be regulated and taxed. The ballot measure would also allow for past convictions of low-level marijuana crimes to be resentenced or expunged under the new law, according to the official state voter's guide.

Read more about Proposition 64 here.


If Massachusetts voters approve Question 4, marijuana will be legal in the state and it will be regulated like alcohol. Adults 21 and over would be allowed to have one ounce of weed on them in public and up to 10 ounces at home. The law would also allow for the home grow of six plants per adult, with a limit of 12 plants per household. The law would go into effect on December 15, but business licenses would not be issued until October 1, 2017.

Read more about Question 4 here.


If approved, Maine's Question 1 would legalize marijuana use for adults over the age of 21. Individuals would be allowed to purchase, transport and possess up to 2.5 ounces of weed at a time. It also allows for the possession of six mature plants, 12 immature plants and an unlimited number of seedlings. It would still be illegal to use marijuana in "nonpublic" places, but that term is undefined in the bill and the maximum fine for a violation is $100.

Read more about Question 1 here.


If Question 2 passes, marijuana will be legal for adults over the age of 21. It would allow Nevadans to possess up to one ounce of flower or one eighth of an ounce of cannabis concentrate, as well as cultivate up to six marijuana plants in a locked enclosure. The regulation of marijuana would be funded through a 15 percent excise tax on all recreational pot sales—after the costs of regulating the 'budding' industry are covered, all remaining revenue from recreational marijuana sales will be distributed to Nevadan schools.

Read more about Question 2 here.

Get six of our favorite Motherboard stories every day by signing up for our newsletter.