Data Story: Marijuana on the 2016 Ballot

November was a big month for opinions. Opinions on not only the presidential candidates but guns, education, minimum wage, tobacco and also marijuana.

All of these issues were on at least one state’s voting ballot in 2016, giving the public a chance to cast their votes and make their opinions heard on some very controversial topics.

While tobacco is being voted on to increase the existing prices, marijuana is getting the green light for recreational and medical use in eight states, out of the nine total, that voted on the issue.


9 states voted on the legalization of either medical or recreational marijuana on the November ballot. 


Taking on the trend-setting role, naturally, is California. It is the first state to establish a legal medical marijuana program over 20 years ago and is still for fronting the so-called “marijuana movement”. In 2010 their citizens tried to pass the recreational use but ultimately failed.

Second times the charm because on the ballot this November 2016, with a 9,588,759 person turn out, Proposition 64 got passed legalizing the use and sale of recreational marijuana and regulating it much like alcohol is with taxes attached.

Along with California’s proposition, Maine passed Question 1, Massachusetts passed Question 4 and Nevada passed Question 2. All of these are legalizing and regulating recreational marijuana for people over the age of 21, much like alcohol is today.

Florida is the first state in the south to legalize the use of marijuana for any purpose when they tried in 2014. Although they failed two years ago, this time around there was a 9,137,190 voter turnout and 71.31 percent of those people said yes to Amendment 2 and the legalization of medical marijuana for debilitating medical conditions.

Following Florida was Arkansas passing Issue 6, Montana passing Initiative 182 and North Dakota passing Measure 5. All relating to the legalization of medical marijuana with a doctor’s prescription, although there are slight variations in each state.

Out of the nine states that had marijuana legalization of any kind on the November 2016 ballot, Arizona was the only state to vote no for Proposition 205 and the legalization of recreational use for people 21 and older. With 51.78 percent of voters saying no and 48.22 percent voting yes, there was only 82,564 more people that voted no.

Marijuana prohibition is in its 79th year, but 28 states have now legalized some form of it and there are more to come. Although there are some states that people say will “never legalize” this movement toward cross-nation legalization is picking up the pace.


The top charts are the states that voted for recreational marijuana legalization and the bottom if for medical marijuana. 



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