BOSTON (AP) — Voters have approved a ballot measure making Massachusetts the first state in the eastern U.S. to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.
Tuesday’s approval marks a major national victory for proponents of legalized marijuana. Currently, using the drug recreationally is legal only in Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska.
The statewide referendum passed despite opposition from top elected officials including Republican Gov. Charlie Baker and Democratic Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. Many business and religious leaders also had come out strongly against legalization.
Voters on Tuesday also were deciding whether to allow recreational cannabis use in nearby Maine as well as in California, Arizona and Nevada.
Governor Charlie Baker released the following statement regarding the vote:
Lt. Governor Polito and I are proud to have worked with an unprecedented bipartisan coalition that has voiced concerns with this proposal, and our administration will work closely with lawmakers, educators, and public safety and public health professionals to ensure this transition protects the interests of our communities and families.
(Copyright (c) 2017 Sunbeam Television. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)