News Reality

Nearly 25 Percent Of Americans Could Soon Be Living In States With Legal Marijuana


Come November, almost one-quarter of the U.S. population could be living in states that have toppled longstanding prohibitions on marijuana.

Five states will vote on measures to legalize and regulate the sale of recreational marijuana on Nov. 8, and with polls indicating that they could pass in all five, the national conversation around cannabis is likely to change drastically.

The burst of ballot initiatives is unprecedented. Four states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana since 2012, but together, they only account for about 18 million Americans. If the new wave of states  — California, Nevada, Arizona, Maine and Massachusetts — legalizes marijuana next month, the number will surge to 75 million people, according to the most recent Census estimates.

Much of that increase is due to California, the most populous state in the country, with about 40 million residents, and the sixth-largest economy in the world (ahead of both France and Brazil). Because of its size and significance, the state “has the ability to be a change agent in this election,” said John Hudak, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and an expert on marijuana policy.

If California votes to legalize marijuana, it would further normalize the sale and use of recreational marijuana, putting it in line with more mainstream drugs like alcohol and tobacco, said Hudak. The expanded legal market would also put political pressure on Congress to ease banking regulations in the cannabis industry. And it would provide another business model for other prospective states to evaluate, imitate and improve upon before adopting their own.

The federal prohibition of marijuana makes it difficult for weed businesses to set up accounts with banks and credit unions, as most financial institutions are hesitant to offer their services to an industry still routinely targeted by law enforcement. They also can’t get loans or accept credit cards. Customers must pay in cash. Businesses in Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska have faced these challenges in recent years, but with little progress. A “yes” on Proposition 64 in California could finally draw attention to the problem, said Beau Kilmer, co-director of the RAND Drug Policy Research Center.

“I think there’s gonna be a stronger voice for reforms at the federal level, especially with respect to the banking issue,” Kilmer said. “If California legalizes, you’re going to have a lot of its federal representatives and senators … pushing for some of these reforms.”

function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible);

Apart from California, the other state measures could also present interesting dynamics for the future of the marijuana reform movement. Arizona could become the first historically red state to approve recreational marijuana, and Massachusetts could lay the groundwork for its New England neighbors to adopt similar initiatives.

Of course, some states may reject marijuana legalization in November. Although the issue is leading in all five states — in California, it has almost 60 percent support — those margins are narrow and a lot can change in the next few weeks, Hudak said.

If the issues fail in a few of the states, it will be a setback, but not a major one.

“Whether these initiatives pass or fail, they are undeniably fostering a public dialogue for ending prohibition,” said Mason Tvert, spokesman for the pro-reform Marijuana Policy Project. “The debate in each state will start to shift more toward, ‘How will marijuana be legal?’ and, ‘What will that look like?’ instead of whether it should be legal.”

“As we continue to see success in these states, it further solidifies the decision for legislators and for voters in other states,” Tvert continued. “They see it’s working. They see it hasn’t caused the problems people claimed it would. They see that it would be beneficial. Then there’s this growing sense of inevitability and of urgency.”

Like efforts to legalize medical marijuana — which have been successful in 25 states and the District of Columbia, with four more states voting on the issue in November — Tvert said Americans will likely adjust to the idea of legalizing recreational marijuana. It just takes time.

“It will be really interesting to see how this plays out over the next couple years,” Kilmer said, adding that the winner of the 2016 presidential election “could have important implications for how this plays out in other parts of the country.”

HUFFPOST READERS: What’s happening in your state or district? The Huffington Post wants to know about all the campaign ads, mailers, robocalls, candidate appearances and other interesting campaign news happening by you. Email any tips, videos, audio files or photos to

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Read Full Article On
Researchers from the University of Southampton and the University of Leicester found a series of elaborate stones at Avebury, in south west England, by using radar technology.
The discovery could help astronomers understand what leads up to the merger of supermassive black holes that creates ripples in the fabric of space-time.
More than 3,000 guests dress up for this year's event in the small town of Midsomer Norton.
Ocoado's driverless pod is designed to deliver goods but is not big enough for the weekly shop.
Internet-based grocer Ocado teams up with a robotics firm to test driverless deliveries in London.
Female's of the Darwin's bark spider spray strands of silk, which is stronger than steel, in one continuous flow to form bridges over water. They then create on orb web on the 'bridge' to catch prey
Researchers from the University of Washington in Seattle have developed a cell phone that pulls energy from the world around it, allowing it to operate without any battery at all.
How California is turning its car problem into a way to make LA greener.
This article originally appeared on the Motley Fool. Robots will take jobs formerly done by people, and that will hit the retail space pretty hard.
Google must remove a company website from its global listings as the result of a ruling Wednesday from Canada’s Supreme Court. The 7-2 ruling in Google Inc. v. Equustek Solutions Inc. involves the n
LeBron James may be looking to take his talents to the world of film, as the Cavaliers star forward reportedly teamed up with Showtime Sports to produce a documentary. SpringHill Entertainment, James
Now you don't have to be skilled at Photoshop to design unique geofilters. Snapchat has introduced a new feature that easily lets users create custom filters in the app that can be used by others ne
Ports operated by the Danish shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk are still crippled following this week's cyberattack
President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement, but that doesn’t mean the Earth is doomed. Scientists and policymakers laid out a plan in the journal Nature listing six wa
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Uber Technologies [UBER.UL] said it never told a self-driving car executive to download files from his former employer, Alphabet Inc's Waymo unit, according to a court filin
Mice can move their whiskers to map their surroundings, researchers at UC Berkeley have found. Rodents use their whiskers to navigate areas close to their face, as their near vision is blurry.
Vivo launches first-ever under-display fingerprint tech, aims to take on Apple, Samsung
These are the best products to connect to your Amazon Echo.        
MobileFun has shared a video online that provides users with a hands-on look of a screen protector and case for Apple's iPhone, providing more details of what to expect at the fall launch.
Google Photos rolls out its latest feature that makes sending out your snaps a, well, snap.
The Senate Intelligence Committee has a deal to get former FBI Director James Comey's memos of his conversations with President Donald Trump.
A two-year investigation by Microsoft and British law enforcement has resulted in the arrest of four people in the United Kingdom involved in carrying out fraudulent technical support calls designed
Before the Affordable Care Act created a public database of payments made to physicians from pharmaceutical companies, Massachusetts made that information legally available on doctors within its bor
"Game of Thrones" actress Emilia Clarke claimed that sexism and racism are equivalent during an interview with Rolling Stone Wednesday. The British actress compared the two forms of discrimination wh
This story was originally published by ProPublica.  
North Korea threatened Wednesday to execute South Korea's former president Park Geun-Hye over an alleged plot to assassinate Kim Jong-Un, according to a statement pushed by officials and prosecutors
Through X-ray analysis, researchers at Stockholm University have found that water can exist as two different liquids at low temperature – a low density form, and one of higher density.
At $99 a year, or $10.99 a month, the cost of Amazon Prime, might not seem worth it for free two-day shipping on millions of items, so you need to make sure you're getting your money's worth. A Prime
A blockbuster trade rocked the NBA on Wednesday as the Los Angeles Clippers shipped disgruntled point guard Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets. The trade appears to benefit all parties as the 32-year-
Fortune breaks down the latest massive cyberattack that spread internationally.        
The study, conducted by researchers at Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary, involved asking volunteers to raise wolf puppies as they would dog puppies.
Chinese internet conglomerate LeEco spent much of the past few years focusing on aggressive growth, but the company is now coping with the aftermath of several failed moves. In a meeting with shareho
You didn't know fireworks could be this cute!        
Combining nanophotonics and thermoelectrics, engineers generate materials capable of distinguishing between tiny differences in wavelengths of light.

Recent News

Woodbine Racetrack is putting in a second turf course

Remember when the 154th Queen’s Plate was supposed to be the last?
Read Full Article

Argos' rookie duo works the buddy system [Photos] [Video]

Brandon Harris and Brandon Washington are childhood friends who share more than just a name.
Read Full Article

Trudeau to have private audience with the Queen ahead of G20 summit

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will meet the prime minister of Ireland and will have a private audience with Queen Elizabeth at the Palace of Holyrood
Read Full Article

Andrew Scheer says he will not appoint independent senators if elected prime minister

Newly minted Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said that if he is elected prime minister he will abandon the notion of an independent Senate as pursu
Read Full Article

Ocadao supermarket trials driverless van deliveries

Internet-based grocer Ocado teams up with a robotics firm to test driverless deliveries in London.
Read Full Article

Ocado demos driverless delivery van in London

Ocoado's driverless pod is designed to deliver goods but is not big enough for the weekly shop.
Read Full Article

Future Energy: LA crystals turn cars into energy source

How California is turning its car problem into a way to make LA greener.
Read Full Article

The most expensive destinations

Miami, Reykjavik are among top 5 most expensive destinations in Bloomberg World Airbnb Cost Index
Read Full Article

Rolls-Royce drivers are a lot younger than you think

The 111-year-old institution takes its sweet time on its stately, half-million-dollar cars
Read Full Article

Popular Finance


Martin Shkreli called 'genius' and 'liar' as trial starts

Legal arguments begin in the 'Pharma Bro' trial.        
Read Full Article

When he meets South Korea's president, Trump will be asking for trade concessions and help confronting North Korea

Read Full Article

Homeland Security will tighten airport security - but won't ban laptops

Read Full Article

Destruction of Arkansas' Ten Commandments monument places spotlight on separation of church and state

The 6-foot-tall stone monument engraved with the Ten Commandments — a capstone of sorts to years of debate in Arkansas over the separation of church and state – was erected with little pomp on the
Read Full Article

Homeland Security tightens screening for all flights from abroad — but won’t ban laptops

Homeland Security officials announced stricter passenger screening and other tougher security measures Wednesday for all commercial flights entering the United States, but said they would not bar
Read Full Article

L.A. City Council takes first step to make evictions harder

If a landlord wants to evict a tenant, the process can be simple. In many cases in Los Angeles, and across California, property owners only have to state they are ending the lease. No justificatio
Read Full Article

A woman got 'lamb fat' injected into her buttocks; now she needs major reconstructive surgery

Wanting "bigger and plump" buttocks, a woman sought the assistance of a beautician from Monterey Park -- and ended up needing major reconstructive surgery.
Read Full Article

Evacuations ordered as brush fire burns near homes in Burbank

Authorities issued mandatory evacuation orders in Burbank on Wednesday afternoon as a brush fire burned close to homes in the Verdugo Mountains above a neighborhood there. The fire was burning in
Read Full Article

Senate health bill would leave Medi-Cal with $115-billion shortfall through 2027, analysis finds

The Senate healthcare bill released last week would leave California short $115 billion for its Medi-Cal program between 2020 and 2027, according to a state analysis released Wednesday. The Medi-C
Read Full Article