24 States And DC Might Legalize Marijuana After Election

Ten years ago, voters in Washington and Colorado legalized adult marijuana usage. 19 states and D.C. have legalized recreational marijuana since then. While federal marijuana legalization has stalled, five states might legalize adult-use marijuana in next week’s midterms.

91% of US people support legalizing marijuana, according to a Pew Research Center study. 43% of US citizens reside in a state that has legalized marijuana for individuals over 21. Adult-use and medicinal marijuana sales exceeded $25 billion in 2021 and might reach $100 billion by 2030. Last month, President Joe Biden declared he’s overhauling America’s federal cannabis laws, beginning by pardoning all federal marijuana possession convicts.

24 States And Dc Might Legalize Marijuana After Election
24 States And Dc Might Legalize Marijuana After Election

Arkansas, Missouri, North Dakota, and South Dakota voters will consider legal marijuana propositions next week. Maryland voters are anticipated to support legalization.

“Four of the five states voting have two Republican senators and either totally or majority Republican congressional delegations in the house,” said BOWL PAC founder Justin Strekal, a veteran cannabis lobbyist in Washington, DC (NORML). Voters’ decision on adult use might influence how federal lawmakers view cannabis nationally.

Here’s a rundown of ballot propositions.

Arkansas: Issue 4

In 2016, Arkansans authorized medicinal marijuana. Issue 4 would change the state’s medicinal program to legalize cannabis for adults.

Responsible Growth Arkansas submitted 192,000 signatures in July to qualify on the ballot. The campaign sued the Arkansas Supreme Court in August after the state Board of Elections said the measure’s language was inadequate. The court decided in favor of Responsible Growth Arkansas on September 22, allowing the vote.

58.5 percent of Arkansas voters support the ballot issue, with 29% against and 13% uncertain, according to a September poll. Progressive cannabis supporters, religious leaders, and pro-Trump politicians oppose legalization, including Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton. Pro-cannabis detractors say the proposal, backed mostly by the medical cannabis industry, will enable current medical marijuana firms to dominate the adult-use market and prohibit new rivals.

Adults 21 and older may buy and possess up to one ounce of cannabis from licensed stores. It would also eliminate medicinal marijuana residency restrictions. No home cultivation.

The Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Division would regulate and license the program; the state’s 40 medicinal cannabis stores may serve adults beginning March 8, 2023. Each would be permitted to operate another recreational marijuana store, and 40 more would be licensed via a lottery.

People with less than 5% of a cannabis firm would no longer need criminal background checks, but there are no expungement or social equality measures.

The proposal would remove medicinal marijuana taxes while permitting a 10% sales tax on non-medical sales. The rest of the tax money would go to the state general fund.

A new research suggests legalizing cannabis in Arkansas could generate more than $460 million in tax revenue over five years.

Maryland: Question 4

Maryland lawmakers decided to legalize marijuana in November. Do you support legalizing cannabis for those over 21 in Maryland on July 1, 2023?

Yes on Question 4 would legalize recreational cannabis in Maryland, where medicinal marijuana is permitted. The bill would legalize up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis for people 21 and older and abolish criminal penalties for 2.5 ounces. Adults might cultivate two plants for personal use and provide cannabis lawfully.

People presently serving time for cannabis crimes would be eligible for resentencing, and those with convictions for possession with intent to distribute might ask to have their records wiped three years after serving time.

Recent polls reveal that 73% of registered voters favor legalization. If the amendment succeeds, Maryland would join Washington, DC as a lawful adult-use jurisdiction; cannabis possession and home production have been allowed in DC since 2015, but Congress has barred retail sales.

Missouri: Amendment 3

Missouri voters authorized a medical marijuana program in 2016, four years after decriminalizing cannabis for personal use. Amendment 3 would legalize marijuana in Missouri, but after months of minimal opposition, a coalition of leaders and groups are urging voters to reject it.

The organization Legal Missouri 2022 believes the proposed amendment would give a “fair playing field” for the sector and promote social equality. ACLU of Missouri and all six Missouri NORML branches support the measure.

A conservative PAC believes the initiative is an effort to inject critical race theory into the constitution by establishing a post of “chief equity officer.” The Missouri Democratic Party claims it “may severely effect minorities, persons of color, and low-income Missourians.”

Amendment 3 would let individuals buy and possess up to 3 ounces of non-medical cannabis. Registered home cultivation would be allowed. Existing dispensaries would be licensed to serve adults.

Cannabis tax income would be used to erase the records of nonviolent cannabis offenders and finance veterans’ health care, drug treatment, and state public defense programs.

Microbusiness licenses would be given by lottery via the Department of Health and Senior Services. Low-income applicants and those impacted by the war on drugs would get priority.

North Dakota: Measure 2

A marijuana legalization vote in North Dakota would enable individuals 21 and older to buy and possess up to one ounce of cannabis and four grams of cannabis concentrate, as well as grow up to three plants for personal use, as long as the product is kept in the same place.

Measure 2 would compel the state to adopt a regulatory program by October 1, 2023. The agency would license seven growing facilities and 18 shops. No one may hold more than one growing facility or four retail sites to prevent major firms from monopolizing the cannabis industry.

Measure 2 would prevent parents who use cannabis legally from losing child custody rights. It wouldn’t allow marijuana conviction expungements.

No extra tax would be levied on cannabis above the state’s 5% sales tax. Manufacturers would pay $110,000 every two years and shops would contribute $90,000 to support the adult-use program.

A 2018 study revealed that 51% of North Dakotans support legalizing cannabis.

Measure 27 voters authorized adult cannabis usage in 2020, but the California Supreme Court rejected the proposal. This year, voters will get another chance to weigh in on legalization, but a new survey reveals public sentiment may have flipped, with a majority now opposed to cannabis reform.

South Dakota: Measure 27

South Dakota voters legalized cannabis by 54% in 2020. Following a legal challenge by Republican Gov. Kristi Noem, the state Supreme Court invalidated the vote on procedural grounds, upholding a ruling that the ballot measure violated the state’s single-subject rule for constitutional amendments, meaning it was not narrowly focused enough to meet the electoral standard.

This time, the initiative leaves taxes and regulations to the legislature. South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws submitted 20,000 signatures for Measure 27.

Measure 27 would let individuals 21 and older buy and possess up to an ounce of cannabis and cultivate up to three plants for personal use. It doesn’t address cannabis taxation, licensing, or social equality.

Civil fines are included for breaking public consumption or plant growth limits. State and municipal governments might continue to outlaw marijuana-related activities made lawful by the referendum.

It’s difficult to predict what voters will do this week, but marijuana legalization has gone a long way in 10 years. “Remarkable,” says cannabis advocate Strekal. If two or more states adopt it, more than half of Americans will live in a state that has legalized adult-use cannabis.

 

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