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Cannabis Legalization 2016: America Votes

September 13, 2016

If 2012 was cannabis legalization’s breakthrough election, 2016 may prove to be the movement’s tipping point. When Colorado and Washington state voted to allow the adult use of cannabis in 2012, 12 million Americans gained the freedom to purchase and consume. If all five adult-use ballot measures pass in 2016, a total of 76 million people — nearly one-quarter of the U.S. population — will live in states with legal, regulated adult-use cannabis. On the medical side, Florida, Arkansas, and North Dakota would add 24 million residents to the roughly 160 million Americans already living in 25 states with legal medical cannabis.

Leafly’s political staff will continually update this page with the latest poll numbers, financial contributions, and election data. Follow our campaign features and expanded coverage at Leafly Politics.

States voting on adult-use (recreational) and medical marijuana legalization

States in Play: November 2016

Adult Use Cannabis Legalization

StateBallot MeasureCurrent Status
Arizona Adult Use: Proposition 205Oct. 20 Arizona Republic poll has 50% favoring, 42% opposing, 8% undecided.
California Adult Use: Proposition 64SurveyUSA poll: 52-41% in favor. USC/LA Times poll: 58-34% in favor.
MaineAdult Use: Question 1Gov. LePage is against it, but polls say 55% of Mainers want it.
MassachusettsAdult Use: Question 4Oct 19 WBUR poll has Q4 passing, 55 to 40%. Oct 27 Suffolk U/Boston Globe poll has it passing 49 to 42%.
NevadaAdult Use: Question 2Latest: 57% for, 33% against legalization. But $2 mil in attack ads are about to drop.

Medical Use Cannabis Legalization

StateBallot Measure Current Status
ArkansasMedical: Issue 6 and Issue 7Sept. 17 poll has Issue 7 passing, Issue 6 failing.
FloridaMedical: Amendment 2Late-Sept. polls have support at 69 to 73%.
MontanaMedical: Initiative 182Court-ordered dispensary closures boost MMJ support.
North DakotaMedical: Measure 5Lack of pre-election polling makes this one tough to call.

9 States to Vote on Expanding Legal Access to Cannabis

National Polling on Legalizing Cannabis

The Pew Research Center’s poll on legalization continues to be the best source of data on America’s rapidly changing views on cannabis. Rule of thumb: The younger the voter, the more likely they are to support adult-use legalization.

National opinion on legalizing marijuana
Source: Pew Research Center

State-by-State Polling

Legalization campaigns are a lot like presidential campaigns: People tend to watch the national polling figures, but what really matters are the state-by-state polls. Good piece on this recently by Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight, by the way — well worth reading. The Pew national poll is great for taking the nation’s overall temperature, but the legalization movement marches forward one state at a time. (Polls on state-level cannabis support aren’t taken at regular intervals, so the time-axes are a little funky.)

California Proposition 64 cannabis legalization polls

California: Latest Polling Results 

Poll DatePolling OrganizationYes on Prop. 64No on Prop. 64Undecided
10/14/2016 - 10/23/2016
Public Policy Institute of California
10/13/2016 - 10/15/2016

10/7/2016 - 10/13/2016
Hoover Institution/YouGov

9/9/2016 - 9/18/2016

Florida marijuana legalization polling


Florida: Latest Polling Results

DatePollSupport %Oppose %Undecided %
10/22/16 - 10/26/16St. Leo University71.321.67.1
10/17/2016 - 10/20/2016People United for Medical Marijuana74224
9/27/2016 - 10/4/2016Public Opinion Research Lab77184
9/15/16 - 9/20/16Florida Chamber of Commerce/Cherry Communications73225
9/10/16 - 9/16/16St. Leo University68.832.20


Massachusetts marijuana legalization polling

Massachusetts: Latest Polling Results

Poll DatePolling OrganizationYes on Question 4No on Question 4Undecided
Oct. 27Suffolk U. / Boston Globe49428
Oct. 19WBUR55405
Late Sept.WBZ/U. Mass53407
July 12-13Gravis Marketing41519

State of the Leaf: This Week in Politics

Every Thursday, Leafly associate editor Lisa Rough compiles the State of the Leaf, a state-by-state update on cannabis legalization matters around the nation. This week: Alaska harvests its first legal crop with nowhere to sell it; one of two Arkansas ballot measures survives its day in court, an Illinois judge adds one more MMJ qualifying condition, and the ballot battle ends in Michigan and Oklahoma.

State of the Leaf: Turkey Legalizes Cannabis Production for Medicine, Research

Follow the Money

Money doesn’t always change everything, but in politics it matters an awful lot. Here’s the latest data on contributions for and against legalization campaigns. Keep in mind that there’s often a lag of anywhere between several weeks and several months in the public disclosure of contributions due to each state’s campaign financing rules.


PACs for Cannabis Legalization (Initiative 205)

PACAmount Raised
Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol$5,237,084

PACs Against Cannabis Legalization (Initiative 205)

PACAmount Raised
Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy$5,605,735
Just Vote No Arizona$854
Marijuana Consumers Against Fake Marijuana Legalization $3,038
No on Prop 205$0

Donors for Cannabis Legalization (Initiative 205)

Marijuana Policy Project$778,950
Marijuana Policy Project Foundation $236,572
Arizona Grassroots Dispensary$135,000
High Mountain Health $130,000
Monarch $110,000

Donors Against Cannabis Legalization (Initiative 205)

Discount Tire$1,000,000
Sheldon Adelson$500,000
INSYS Therapeutics$500,000
JoAnne & Ernie Garcia$250,000
Randy Kendrick $100,000
Denny T. Sanford $100,000

Ex-Bears QB Jim McMahon Stumps for Arizona Legalization
Why Did Fentanyl Maker Insys Give $500K to Defeat Legalization?


PACs for Medical Marijuana Legalization 

Committee / PACCumulative Totals
Arkansans for Compassionate Care$162,800.43
Arkansans United For Medical Marijuana $885,155.38
Total: $1,047,955.81

PACs Against Medical Marijuana Legalization 

Committee / PACCumulative Totals
Family Council Action Committee BQC$11,745.78
Arkansans Against Legalized Marijuana $48,200
Coalition for Safer Arkansas Communities $5,774.26

What Happens if Both Arkansas MMJ Measures Pass?

A Tale of Two Initiatives: Big Trouble In Little Rock


PACs for Cannabis Legalization (Prop. 64)

PACAmount Raised
Californians for Responsible Marijuana Reform, Yes on Prop. 64$191,202
Californians for Sensible Reform$850,000
Drug Policy Action, Yes on 64$530,000
Fund for Policy Reform$6,140,000
Marijuana Policy Project of California $788,992
New Approach PAC$7,376,000
The Adult Use Campaign for Proposition 64$14,032
Yes on 64$6,879,122

Total: $22,769,348

PACs Against Cannabis Legalization (Prop. 64)

PACAmount Raised
Smart Approaches to Marijuana Action (Sam Action) Against Prop. 64$1,364,000
No on Prop. 64 (CA Public Safety Institute) $1,124,001.16
Moms Strong Against Prop 64$4,185.00

Top Donors for Cannabis Legalization (Prop. 64)

Sean Parker$8,562,451.21
Drug Policy Action$4,150,000
Fund for Policy Reform$3,970,000
Henry Van Ameringen$1,250,000
Californians for Sensible Reform $750,000

Top Donors Against Cannabis Legalization (Prop. 64)

Julie Schauer$1,364,000
Smart Approaches to Marijuana Action (SAM Action)$489,150
California Teamsters Public Affairs Council $25,000
Peace Officers Research Association of California $25,000
CA Association of Highway Patrolmen$12,500

Data Dive: Prop. 64 Poll Reveals Bikers Love Legalization (and Other Curious Trends)

13 Things You Might Not Know About California’s Prop. 64


PACS for Cannabis Legalization in Florida

People United for Medical Marijuana $6,236,461.92

PACS Against Cannabis Legalization in Florida

Drug Free Florida Committee $3,474,685.76

Top Donors For Medical Marijuana Legalization (Amendment 2)

The Morgan Firm (John Morgan)$2,619,021
Drug Policy Action$1,110,000
Barbara Stiefel $775,000
Florida Democratic Party$240,000
John Curtin$50,000

Top Donors Against Medical Marijuana Legalization (Question 2)

Top Donors Amount
Sheldon Adelson$1,500,000
Mel Sembler$1,000,000
Carol Jenkins Barnett Family Trust$800,000
Levin Papantonio Law Firm$60,000

Florida Legalization: Seeking 60 Percent in the Sunshine State

What’s the Deal With Florida’s ‘Dispensaries’?


PACs for Cannabis Legalization (Question 1)

Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol$1,285,776.63

PACs Against Cannabis Legalization (Question 1)

PAC Amount
Mainers Protecting Our Youth and Communities $50,861
Maine Matters Vote No$8,189
Total: $59,050

Top Donors for Cannabis Legalization (Question 1) 

New Approach PAC$825,000
Rick Steves$50,000
Liberty For All$10,000

Top Donors Against Cannabis Legalization (Question 1) 

Alliance for Healthy Marijuana Policy $50,000
Phil Allen$1,200

Maine Postcard: When Advocates Turn On Each Other, It Gets Ugly

Is Maine’s Governor Losing His Ever-Lovin’ Mind?


PACS for Cannabis Legalization (Question 4) 

PAC Amount Raised
Yes on 4$6,140,429.52

PACs Against Cannabis Legalization (Question 4) 

PACAmount Raised
Campaign for a Safe and Health Massachusetts$363,202
Smart Approaches to Marijuana Action (SAM Action)$25,000
Safe Cannabis Massachusets $300

Cannabis Ambassador Rick Steves Lands in Massachusetts to Support Question 4

Did a Massachusetts Senate Panel Mislead Voters About Legalization?


PACs for Cannabis Legalization (Question 2)

Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol $1,592,700.00
Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol$426,000.00
Total: $2,018,700

PACs Against Cannabis Legalization (Question 2)

Protecting Nevada's Children$2,088,500.00
SAM Action Inc.$30,000

Top Donors for Cannabis Legalization (Question 2)

Marijuana Policy Project $250,000
AOW REO LLC Capitol Account$75,000
Ghost Management Group$50,000
Highland Medical Packaging, LLC$25,000
Rene Ruiz$25,000
Gary Primm$25,000

Nevada Officials Endorse Legalization, While Review-Journal Does About-Face

Notable Donors: Some Will Surprise You

DonorStateDonation Legalization Position
Denny Sanford, CEO of United National Corp. Arizona$100,000Oppose
Arizona Wine & Spirits Wholesale Assocation Arizona$10,000Oppose
Jonathan Bush, cousin of Jeb & George W. Massachusetts$10,000Support
Bobby Orr, NHL Hall of Famer Massachusetts$1,000Oppose
Wine & Spirit Wholesalers of Mass. Massachusetts$50,000Oppose
Beer Distributors of Massachusetts Massachusetts$25,000Oppose
Sheldon Adelson, casino magnateFlorida $1,000,000Oppose
Gary Primm, casino developerNevada$25,000Support
Roger Primm, son of GaryNevada$25,000Support
Sean Parker, Napster founder & early Facebook executive California $8,562,451.21Support
Rick Steves, Writer/TV hostMassachusetts$100,000Support
Rick Steves, Writer/TV hostMaine$100,000Support

Voter Registration Deadlines

Most election coverage focuses on the sprint to November 8. But there’s a hidden campaign going on right now: the race to register voters. In Nevada, more than half a million eligible voters remain unregistered. In Florida, there are 2.75 million. Most states allow voters to register until early to mid October. Remember: You can’t win it if you ain’t in it.

Voter Registration Deadlines in States Voting on Cannabis Legalization

Links to Voter Registration Sites

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Leafly Staff

Leafly is the world’s largest cannabis information resource, empowering people in legal cannabis markets to learn about the right products for their lifestyle and wellness needs. Our team of cannabis professionals collectively share years of experience in all corners of the market, from growing and retail, to science and medicine, to data and technology.

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