Voters in four states voted to legalise and tax recreational marijuana for adults.
Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota have joined the 11 states that have already legalized recreational pot.
Those other states are Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington state.
Meanwhile, Washington, D.C., permits adults age 21 and over to possess up to 2 ounces of marijuana and allows for the transfer of up to an ounce to another adult — but you can still be arrested for selling it.
Voters also approved measures for medicinal marijuana in Mississippi and South Dakota.
“New Jersey legalized it, but so did deep-red South Dakota and Montana,” said Steve Hawkins, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. “It shows that regardless of political ideology or party differences, American support cannabis legalization.”
It also helps that levying legal pot could help states strengthen their coffers amid the current economic downturn. It comes down to their approach to the tax, policy experts said.
According to the National Center for Drug Abuse, 55 million American adults currently use marijuana. As well, more than half of Americans view marijuana use as socially acceptable.
However, marijuana also accounted for 40% of all drug arrests in the United States in 2018, according to a PEW study. Marijuana, as well as psychedelics and other drugs, is still illegal under federal law. Local governments can choose to ban the sale or cultivation of marijuana.
California was the first state to legalize marijuana for medical use in 1996. More than 20 years later, South Dakota and Mississippi followed suit and in the elections on Nov. 3, 35 states and four territories allow the use of medical marijuana.