(NaturalNews) This year's election could have sweeping impacts on cannabis legislation nationwide, as numerous states gear up to vote on important regulations regarding America's most beloved plant.
In roughly two months, citizens in five states will vote on whether or not to fully legalize recreational cannabis, while another four states will consider legalizing the drug for medicinal purposes.
Some experts say that the measures could affect the way the federal government views marijuana. Currently, 25 states and the District of Columbia have some sort of law regulating cannabis.
Four states, including Alaska, Oregon, Colorado and Washington, as well as the District of Columbia, have legalized the plant for recreational use, according to Governing.com.
Five U.S. states could fully legalize marijuana
Marijuana is considered legal for medicinal use in several other states, including New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Montana, Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts.
Virginia reportedly enacted a law 10 years ago allowing the possession of marijuana among individuals who have received a prescription for the plant. However, federal law prevented physicians from doing so, leaving the law null and void.
The Washington Post reports that if the proposed measures are not passed come November, "a string of defeats would signal public unease about condoning the use of an intoxicating substance that isn't tobacco or alcohol. Defeats would suggest that opponents' longstanding criticisms of the legal marijuana industry are making inroads among voters."
California is one of the states that could make recreational marijuana legal, affecting some 40 million people and the already existing $2.7 billion cannabis market. If approved, the sales could mushroom to more than $6 billion in just a few years, the Post reports.
Nevada is another state looking to legalize recreational marijuana, which would be a boon to its tourism industry. Proponents of full marijuana legalization are working with about $1 million in funds, while opponents have zero.