Maine residents have voted to legalize marijuana for recreational use in their state, the AP reports. The final results of the referendum were tabulated on Thursday. The count took nearly two days because of how close the race was, within a fraction of a percentage point, and the AP made the call Thursday afternoon. Supporters had already declared themselves the winners and had predicted home cultivation of marijuana would be legal by around Christmas. Pending the possibility of a recount, Maine joins California, Nevada, and Massachusetts, which passed similar measures this week. Arizona rejected a similar measure. Recreational marijuana was already legal in Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska.
People 21 or older will now be allowed to use up to 2 1/2 ounces of marijuana, and retail marijuana shops and social clubs could open around the state. Some municipalities have balked at allowing such businesses to open in their communities. Opponents who had vowed to request a recount said on Thursday that they would meet to decide what to do next. The campaign that pushed for legalization turned immediately toward the implementation process on Thursday. They said they hope marijuana will be available in retail establishments by 2018. Marijuana won't become available at the retail level until after a state rulemaking process that could be slow and arduous. Medical marijuana was already legal in Maine. (Read more marijuana legalization stories.)