Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, New Jersey was approving a constitutional amendment to legalize cannabis in the state.
New Jersey authorized the legal use of recreational marijuana on election day after what the NY Times called "years of legislative failures" to do so. Supporters of the bill pointed to the disproportionate number of arrests occurring in minority communities as a result of marijuana.
The initiative passed by a "wide margin" and the next step now becomes state officials starting a "potentially lengthy" process of establishing rules around issuing cannabis licenses. The vote is also expected to pressure surrounding states like New York and Pennsylvania to follow suit.
State Senator Liz Krueger of New York said: "I'm going to cheer on New Jersey and hope that it helps us beat them to the punch."
The state is planning to tax 6.625% on marijuana sales. Municipalities have the option of charging an extra tax of up to 2%. The state's Cannabis Regulatory Commission will have 5 members for "hashing out" additional details. To date, only one member has been appointed.
The tax revenue is appealing for the state, and may push New Jersey to move quickly in order to help address some of the state's budget gaps. The initiative could generate up to $126 million per year.
State Senator Nicholas Scutari wants existing medical marijuana companies in the state to be able to turn around and sell to recreational users, also: "We're anticipating moving very quickly with enabling legislation, which would in fact allow medical marijuana shops to sell to the general public immediately. We're happy to invite New York residents over to enjoy."