Election night turned out to be a big night for marijuana advocates. Californians voted to legalize recreational use of the drug, giving the movement its biggest victory yet. The win means recreational pot is now legal along the entire West Coast, notes the AP. Massachusetts also approved recreational pot, the first state east of the Rockies to do so. Nevada did the same, while Florida and Arkansas voted to legalize marijuana for medical purposes, making them the first in the South with full-scale medical marijuana programs. Arizona voters rejected a recreational marijuana proposal, while votes on Maine's were still being counted early Wednesday, Slate reports.
North Dakota also voted to permit marijuana for medical purposes. Montanans, meanwhile, voted to ease restrictions on an existing medical marijuana law. Collectively, it was the closest the US has ever come to a national referendum on marijuana. "These votes send a clear message to federal officials that it's time to stop arresting and incarcerating marijuana users," says Rob Kampia, executive director of the pro-legalization Marijuana Policy Project. Ken Corney, president of the California Police Chiefs Association, says they are "of course, disappointed" by the state's vote. Corney says his organization plans to work with lawmakers to develop a driving-under-the-influence policy. (Read more marijuana stories.)