While everyone was wrapped up in the shocking presidential victory by Republican nominee Donald Trump, nine states also voted on legalizing medicinal or recreational cannabis. Overall, despite how awful the outcome of the general election may seem to you, it was quite a successful day for cannabis in the United States. In fact, eight of the nine states voted in favor of legalizing the plant, with the sole dissenter being the state of Arizona.
The state’s initiative, Proposition 205, aimed to legalize the use of recreational cannabis across Arizona. The ballot trailed early on during the election and never quite recovered, ultimately failing to pass in a relatively close race with an unofficial total of 47.8% voting “YES” and 52.2% voting “NO”. This race was marked by the massive influx of cash coming in from both sides just days before the election, ultimately pitting special business interests against pro-legalization organizations.
The failure to pass Prop 205 was seen as another major victory for local Republicans, many of whom gathered at a downtown Phoenix hotel to celebrate their successful effort to prevent the legalization recreational cannabis. Most excuses for being against the ballot initiative centered around not wanting stoned drivers on the roads. Others claimed to not like how recreational cannabis has played out in Colorado, despite the fact that it seems to be helping the state much more than harming it.
“The defeat of Prop. 205 helps to secure a safe and prosperous future for Arizona for many years to come. Tonight’s defeat shows Arizonans will not risk letting out-of-state interests buy the ballot box to drastically change our state,” said Adam Deguire of the anti-legalization campaign.
Proponents of Prop. 205 remained optimistic despite facing defeat, claiming late last night that thousands of ballots had yet to be counted, and that the ballot still had a chance of passing. But as the night turned into morning, the margin between YES and NO remained at around 4%.
Although Arizona seems to have failed in passing recreational cannabis, the state will still continue on with the medical marijuana system that was passed back in 2010. The failure to pass Proposition 205 can certainly be chalked up as a disappointment, but the good news is that the other four states voting on recreational cannabis decided to pass these initiatives in their state.