What the 2016 Election Results Mean for Health

From Scientific American:

Americans also weighed in on other controversial health issues, with votes on assisted suicide in Colorado and on ways to handle escalating drug prices in California. But up-or-down votes on medical or recreational marijuana use were widespread, cropping up across nine states.

Four of those states—Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota—were voting on either allowing or expanding cannabis use for medical purposes. The other five—Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada—were voting on whether or not to allow adults aged 21 and older to consume weed recreationally. California’s “yes” vote, after several failed attempts in recent years, could blow up the current marijuana market. The passage of Proposition 64, legalizing recreational cannabis use in the most populous state, may lead to a tripling of the legal industry’s size and eventually help grow it to $50 billion nationwide, according to analysis from the research group Cowen and Company.

Until now four states and the District of Colombia had approved adult recreational marijuana use, giving 5.6 percent of the U.S. adult population legal access to cannabis without a doctor’s orders, says Karmen Hanson, a marijuana policy analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures. A much larger swath of the country—25 states, D.C., Guam and Puerto Rico—had already allowed medical use. (Donald Trump has also said that he supports medical access.)

Despite the flurry of state-level action, cannabis use remains illegal at the federal level. In August the Drug Enforcement Administration announced its plans to keep the plant in the same legal category as heroin and LSD. This legal conundrum has proved increasingly awkward for marijuana businesses trying to conduct banking, and for researchers who run up against federal restrictions. As more states legalize weed for recreational or medical use, “the more pressure it will put on the …

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