California legalized marijuana on Tuesday, along with Massachusetts and Nevada, prompting advocates to claim there's is a changing attitude nationwide about the drug.
In Maine, legalizing marijuana for recreational was leading with 51 percent of the vote at 3 a.m. Wednesday, with the 87 percent of the vote counted there, reported the Portland Press Herald. A recreational marijuana issue failed in Arizona, 52.2 percent to 47.8 percent, reported the Arizona Republic.
Voters in Florida, North Dakota, and Arkansas approved medical marijuana initiatives, reported The Washington Post. A Montana measure to expand medical marijuana use was up by 13 percent with 97 percent of the precincts reporting Wednesday morning, reported The New York Times.
Marijuana is now legal for 20 percent of the country's residents as those states join Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, along with Washington, D.C. noted The New York Times.
"This represents a monumental victory for the marijuana reform movement," said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, about the California vote. "With California's leadership now, the end of marijuana prohibition nationally, and even internationally, is fast approaching."
California had been viewed as a key state in the national movement toward reform of marijuana laws with 12 percent of the nation's population, noted the Post, and California's approval could push the federal government to re-examine its long prohibition on marijuana use.
"Marijuana legalization has arrived on the East Coast," Tom Angell of the marijuana reform group Marijuana Majority, told the Post. "What Colorado and other states have already done is generating revenue, creating jobs and reducing crime, so it's not surprising that voters in more places are eager to end prohibition."
The Times noted that some public health officials have warned there have been insufficient studies about marijuana's effects and that authorities lack reliable tests and protocols to determine whether someone driving is impaired by marijuana.
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