By Casi McIntyre
California voters approved Proposition 64 with a 56 to 44 percent margin, allowing for legalized recreational marijuana in one of the most populated states.
The proposition passed in San Luis Obispo County with nearly 61,000 voters, or 75 percent, in favor of the ballot.
California was one out of nine states to make proposals for change regarding the drug, even though it is still banned by federal government.
With the passage of the proposition, it is now legal for adults over 21 to consume cannabis. Cultivation procedures are expected to be in place by 2018, authorities said.
Just two decades ago, the state led the marijuana movement when it approved medical cards. In this election, California was among five states to allow voters to pass recreational use among adults. Other states included Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada. Arizona’s initiative to legalize recreational marijuana failed with a 52 percent majority. Montana, North Dakota, Arkansas and Florida all voted to legalize medical marijuana.
Legal recreational use of cannabis in California could spark efforts across the country to do the same and adds pressure on the federal government to ease up on rules that classify the drug in the same category as ecstasy and heroin.
Proposition 64 allows people 21 or older to legally possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants indoors. The drug will now be taxed, at varying rates based on amount of cultivation and sales, and profits will go to the state’s marijuana tax fund.