In addition to choosing the leader of the free world on November 8, the nation’s citizens also voted on several important and often controversial issues including the legalization of marijuana, minimum wage, gun control, income tax, and tobacco. Below is a snapshot of the results, according to a recent Forbes Magazine article, and how this may affect the legal landscape going forward.
- Marijuana: Legalizing recreational and medicinal marijuana has been a hot topic for quite some time. This past election, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada and California all passed laws legalizing the recreational use of the drug. Arizona attempted to pass a similar law, but fell short, with a 52% majority. Other states voted and passed the legalization of medicinal marijuana. This includes Montana, North Dakota, Arkansas, and Florida;
- Minimum Wage: Two different initiatives related to minimum wage were voted on across the nation – an increase in the minimum wage and a lower minimum wage for minors. The measure to lower minimum wages for minors, proposed by South Dakota, did not pass. Conversely, four states, Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and Washington all voted to increase minimum wage;
- Gun Control: Another highly contested topic, particularly during the presidential campaign season, there were several gun control measures on ballots across the nation. Nevada voters passed a law in favor of more stringent background checks while Maine’s background check initiative failed. California voters approved to expand restrictions on purchasing and possessing ammunition. Finally, Washington passed a measure allowing courts to prevent individuals exhibiting mental illness from having access to firearms;
- Tobacco: Four states had measures on the ballot to increase taxes on tobacco – California, Colorado, Mississippi, and North Dakota. California was the only one to pass this initiative;
- Income Tax: the only two states to propose an increase on the income tax paid by wealthy individuals on this election’s ballot, California and Maine, both passed this measure.
It is likely that more controversial ballot measures will end up in front of voters in the years to come, particularly as a result of the political landscape across the nation. It is best to be informed of the issues so that a knowledgeable decision can be made.
Understand Your Rights
If you or someone you know has any questions about the newly passed laws and how they affect you individually, contact a knowledgeable attorney near you. While some initiatives passed in key states, it is important to know that not of all these state laws are in line with federal law. In other words, you may be breaking federal law while still within your legal rights in your state. For this reason, a skilled attorney should be contacted if you have any questions or concerns.