Amidst the whirl of Donald Trump becoming president, it’s easy to forget that Tuesday was also a big night for marijuana in the US.
As well as voting in the presidential election, nine states also had the chance to decide whether it should be legal for people to smoke weed – for recreational or medicinal reasons.
Here, we take a look at all the questions surrounding this pretty huge decision.
So, what’s the deal – which states have now legalised the drug?
Along with the District of Columbia (Washington DC), recreational use of weed is now legal in seven states: Alaska, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. If you’re over 21 you can buy the drug from licensed vendors and smoke it at your leisure at home.
The drug is available for medical use in a further 23 states, including Florida and North Dakota, which voted on the new law in Tuesday’s ballot.
How does legal marijuana work?
For those states that have now voted to legalise the drug in its entirety, weed is now legal to buy and sell from licensed dispensaries, but there are limits on how much you can possess at any one time.
For example, in Oregon, the law states:
1. You must be over 21 to buy the drug.
2. Approved dispensaries can sell small amounts to recreational users of legal age.
3. You can possess up to 8oz (22g) of the drug at your private residence, and 1oz (2.8g) outside of it.
4. You can grow up to four marijuana plants at home, out of public view.
5. You can’t take marijuana across the border into another state, including Washington (where the drug is also legal).
6. You can use the drug at home, or in a private property.
7. It is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana at any time.
Where is it still not legal?
For many, using weed isn’t about getting high. The use of marijuana for medical purposes has been adopted for a wide range of illnesses and chronic diseases and has a long history of promotion for certain conditions.
In some states, use of the drug is generally restricted to end-of-life care and pain management for serious conditions like cancer, but the drug also has widespread applications for management of symptoms for HIV sufferers, Crohn’s disease, muscle seizures and nausea from chemotherapy.
How much is cannabis in the US worth?
It’s not a secret that weed is worth a fair amount of money. In fact – it is worth a lot of money.
The sale of legal marijuana is now thought to be worth an estimated $22bn (£17.6bn) by 2020, making it one of America’s fastest growing industries.
Strong opposition to the drug in many areas means that it could still take many years before a widespread move towards full legalisation, or even a gradual transition back into dealing with it as a fully controlled substance.
But for now, many districts are already looking forward to the serious cash injection the emerging industry could mean for the state coffers.