8 states approve ballot measures on marijuana
Nov. 9, 2016 (Updated) -- Ballot measures legalizing recreational or medicinal use of marijuana (or expanding existing medicinal use) were approved by voters in eight states, but rejected in one, as a result of Tuesday’s election.
Voters in California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada approved measures allowing for recreational use of cannabis; Arizona voters rejected it. Meanwhile, voters in Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota approved medicinal use of the substance (Montana was an expansion of existing law). Results were finalized in Maine for recreational use only this afternoon..
More than half of the states (28, and the District of Columbia) have now legalized recreational or medicinal – or both – uses of marijuana for their jurisdictions. However: The substance remains classified as a Schedule 1 drug (the same as heroin), a rating that was reiterated by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency in the summer. That continues to hamper the ability of businesses serving the legal marijuana trade in their states from opening checking accounts, obtaining credit cards or wire transfer services, largely because financial institutions are reluctant to provide services out of fear of violating federal drug laws. As a result, many of the businesses resort to stashing cash in storage units, back offices and armored vans – which is quickly becoming a security issue.
NASCUS supports federal legislation that clarifies the permissibility of financial institutions to provide financial services to state-authorized marijuana businesses; NASCUS took no position on any of the ballot measures.