Voters in Massachusetts and Maine legalized recreational marijuana on Nov. 8, 2016, becoming the first two states east of the Rockies to do so.
“With Maine and Massachusetts both joining California and Nevada in voting to legalize marijuana tonight, it’s clear that voters from coast to coast are ready to replaced failed marijuana criminalization policies with effective regulation,” Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority, said in an emailed statement.
The results from Massachusetts’s Question 4 were announced before midnight on Election Day, while the outcome of Maine’s Question 1 remained undetermined until early the next morning.
“Western states have led the way on legalizing marijuana but the victory in Massachusetts powerfully demonstrates that this movement is now bicoastal and soon to be national,” Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said in a press release. “Indeed, I’d wager that the next states to legalize marijuana will also be in the Northeast—and they’ll be the first in the country to do so through the legislature rather than the ballot box.”
After the Massachusetts decision was announced, Angell said it will spur changes in neighboring states.
“Lawmakers in Rhode Island and Vermont have already said that legal cannabis next door will make them act more quickly to catch up in the race to lead marijuana industry innovation in the region, and the taxes it will bring in,” he said. “The Bay State’s vote is just a sign of things to come.”