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Election Could Stoke US Marijuana Market, Sway Congress

Joe Ahlquist/The Argus Leader via AP, File

It could be a landmark election year for the legal marijuana industry. Voters in four states could approve broad legal marijuana sales, as the push for legalization continues across the US.

The contests will take place in vastly different regions _ New Jersey, Arizona, South Dakota and Montana. If approved in a sweep, it would highlight how public acceptance of cannabis is cutting through geography, demographics and politics. The most closely watched race is New Jersey, which if approved could prompt New York, Pennsylvania and other Northeast states to follow. Meanwhile, voters in conservative Mississippi will consider competing proposals that would legalize medicinal marijuana.

In Arizona, medical marijuana is already legal, but Proposition 207 on the current ballot would legalize recreational sale and use for those 21 and older. It would put a 16% tax on sales that would benefit community colleges, municipal police, sheriff's and fire departments, fire districts, and Arizona's Highway User Revenue Fund. If passed, the initiative would also expunge certain marijuana-related crimes beginning next July. 

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