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New Jersey, Arizona approve recreational marijuana, Florida raises minimum wage

By Peter Szekely and Sharon Bernstein

(Reuters) – Voters in New Jersey and Arizona legalized marijuana for recreational use on Tuesday, and in Oregon approved the country’s first therapeutic use for psilocybin, the hallucinogenic drug known as magic mushrooms.

The measures on drug use were among more than a hundred ballot questions put to voters on a range of topics including elections, abortion rights and taxes.

In all, at least 124 statutory and constitutional questions appeared on ballots this year in 32 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).

Among the highlights: Colorado voters defeated a measure that would have banned late-term abortions, Florida approved a hike in the minimum wage and California exempted rideshare and delivery drivers from a state law that would have made them employees of such companies as Lyft and Uber, rather than independent contractors.

Here are some of the key results of this year’s ballot measures based on projections from the NCSL and Edison Research:

MARIJUANA

Voters in New Jersey and Arizona approved measures to legalize marijuana for recreational use. The question was also on the ballot in Montana and South Dakota, which is also considering the drug’s use for medical purposes. Mississippi voters were also considering legalizing medical marijuana.

Since 1996, 33 other states and the District of Columbia have allowed medical marijuana, 11 had previously approved its recreational use and 16, including some medical marijuana states, have decriminalized simple possession, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

PSILOCYBIN, AKA MAGIC MUSHROOMSPsilocybin, a hallucinogen also known in its raw form as magic mushrooms, was approved by Oregon voters for therapeutic use for adults. Backers of the Psilocybin Services Act cited research showing benefits of the drug as a treatment for anxiety disorders and other mental health conditions. The measure will set a schedule to further consider the matter and create a regulatory structure for it.

In a related measure, Washington, D.C., voters approved Initiative 81, which directs police to rank “entheogenic plants and fungi,” including psilocybin and mescaline, among its lowest enforcement priorities.

MINIMUM WAGE

Voters in Florida approved a measure to amend the state constitution to gradually increase its $8.56 per hour minimum wage to $15 by Sept. 30, 2026.

CALIFORNIA GIG WORKERS

California voters approved a measure that would exempt ride-share and delivery drivers from a state law that makes them employees, not contractors, according to Edison Research. The measure, Proposition 22, is the first gig-economy question to go before statewide voters in a campaign. Backers, including Uber Technologies Inc and Lyft Inc, spent more than $190 million on their campaign, making the year’s costliest ballot measure, according to Ballotpedia.

ABORTION

Colorado voters rejected a measure to ban late-term abortions.

(Reporting by Peter Szekely in New York and Sharon Bernstein in Sacramento; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)

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