Marijuana, the death penalty and assisted suicide: The other stuff America voted on during the election


November 8 was a busy day for Americans. Not only were they voting for their president, senators and congress, they also voted on a number of ballot initiatives. Think of them as mini-referendums.

So which laws will be changing in which states after the 2016 presidential election?


( Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)
( Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)

Five states voted on the recreational use of marijuana, with Nevada, California and Massachusetts voting to legalize it. Maine votes on the issue are still being counted, but at present the yes vote is ahead.

Four states voted on the medical uses for the drug, with Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota all voting to institute it in some form for a variety of conditions.

Minimum wage

(Elaine Thompson/AP)
(Elaine Thompson/AP)

This argument has been raging in the US for a while now, with fast food and other low-wage workers demanding a $15 minimum wage limit nationally. With Obama paralysed by a Republican congress, five states have taken the argument into their own hands.

Arizona, Colorado, Maine and Washington all voted to institute the minimum wage at differing levels; the former three voting for an increase to $12 by 2020 and Washington voting for $13.50 by 2020.

Assisted death

Brittany Maynard - Yes on Colorado End-of-Life Options

The state of Colorado voted to institute assisted suicide in cases of those over 18 who have been diagnosed with less than six months to live. Brittany Maynard, whose plea to bring in right-to-die legislation went viral globally, played a role in the national campaign before she ended her own life in Oregon in November 2014.

The person wishing to end their life must be assessed as competent and mentally capable to make their own choice by two physicians and voluntarily ask for the medication which would end their life in order to prevent anyone who helps them from being prosecuted.

Prior to the ballot, assisting suicide in Colorado was classed as felony manslaughter. The state now joins California, Montana, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington in adopting right-to-die laws.

Gun laws

(Lynne Sladky/AP)
(Lynne Sladky/AP)

California voted to ban the possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines completely and require certain individuals to undergo background check before possessing a firearm.

Nevada voted to require firearm transfers to go through a licensed gun dealer, except between family members and in the case of temporary loans.

Washington allowed courts to issue "extreme risk protection orders", removing firearms from those exhibiting "mental illness, violent or other behaviour indicating they may harm themselves or others". Families, social workers or the police can apply for an order of this type.

Death penalty

A gurney in a death penalty room(Pat Sullivan/AP)
(Pat Sullivan/AP)

Nebraska voted to bring in the death penalty, while California voted to keep it following a challenge.

In Nebraska, this comes barely a year after state legislators decided to repeal the penalty. It's bad news for the 10 people who are currently on death row in the state.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma voted to protect the death penalty by adding it to the state's constitution - making it a clean sweep in favour of capital punishment in states where it was on the ballot.