What’s Next for New Recreational Marijuana States?

shutterstock 228408742
shutterstock 228408742

Last week, voters in four states approved measures to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. However, we do not simply go from the ballot to the dispensary overnight. Below is a breakdown of how the new laws impact residents both today and in the future.



Adults in California can now possess, transport, and purchase up to once ounce of marijuana flower, as of November 9 (full details here). The penalty for possession of more than one ounce has been lowered from a felony to a misdemeanor charge. Residents can only consume marijuana in their homes. They can legally grow up to 6 plants indoors and are subjected to local laws when it comes to outdoor cultivation. Recreational sales are not expected to begin until January, 2018.


While Maine’s Question 1 has been reported to have passed narrowly, a recount now appears possible. There is potentially another obstacle to Question 1 in Governor Paul LePage. He has been vocal in his opposition to legal cannabis, and the law can only be implemented 30 days after his approval. If Question 1 becomes law, adults will be permitted to possess up to 2.5 ounces of flower. Outdoor consumption will remain banned. If and when Question 1 is approved, regulators will have nine months to finalize the details of the program. Applications for retails shops, cultivation facilities, and social clubs will be accepted one month after Question 1 is finalized.


Adults may legally posses up to one ounce of marijuana flower starting on December 15. Each household will be allowed to cultivate up to 12 plants. The Cannabis Control Board will be created with appointees from state treasurer, Deborah Goldberg. The board will decide on packaging and labeling requirements over the course of the next year. Tax rates will also be discussed during this time. Retail licenses will not be approved until January, 2018 at the earliest.


The adult use of recreational marijuana will be legal in Nevada starting on January 1, 2017. Possession of one ounce of flower and 1/8 of concentrates will be permitted. Nevada lawmakers have until January, 2018 to create licensing regulations. The first recreational licenses will only be awarded to currently-licensed medical marijuana shops for the first 18 months. Some are worried that residents will turn to the black market before all of the regulations are put in place. The Nevada Department of Taxation is considering a plan to accelerate the regulatory process. “Because the medical (marijuana) program is up and running, the framework is already there,” department spokeswoman Stephanie Klapstein said according to the Las Vegas Review Journal. “It’s just a matter of getting the regulations going.”