Markets may be down, but cannabis optimism remains high heading into election season. Here are 5 states with weed on the ballot.
With five states determining adult use legislation this November, another Green Wave could soon sweep the United States. The potential wave brings ample business opportunities, legal cannabis sales and the end to cannabis criminalization in legalized jurisdictions.
These are the states with cannabis legalization on the ballot this year.
In September, the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that voters will decide the fate of adult-use cannabis this November. If approved, the bill would mark the second voter past cannabis bill in the state, following the 2016 passage of medical cannabis.
Key legislation parameters include possessing up to an ounce of cannabis and expanding the number of licensed dispensaries from 40 to 120.
The bill’s fate remains to be determined. An October 2022 poll of 974 likely voters noted a dip and support for cannabis legalization. Of those asked, 36.5% said they definitely would vote for the bill. 43% of respondents were either probably or definitely against the measure. 6.5% claim to be undecided.
Maryland’s adult-use cannabis bill aims to expand on adult-use legislation passed in 2014, with sales starting three years later.
If Maryland ballot question 4 is approved, adults 21 and over would be permitted to possess up to 1.5 oz of cannabis and 10 grams of concentrate, beginning in July 2023. A companion piece of legislation, House Bill 837, would decriminalize those possession amounts until July 2023.
Chances of a bill passage appear high in Maryland at this time. An October 2022 poll by The Washington Post and the University of Maryland suggests that the measure should pass, with nearly three-quarters of respondents claiming to support the proposed legislation.
Missouri’s March toward cannabis reform has been steadily progressing over the last few years. After the passage of medical cannabis in 2018 and the rollout of sales in 2020, voters will next determine if adult use gets the green light. A bill passage would allow adults 21 and over to participate in the adult use marketplace while expanding parole and record rehabilitation opportunities for people affected by the drug war.
Two polls conducted in September and October indicate that legalization could fall short, but it is too close to call at this time. A September analysis by Remington Research Group found 43% of respondents supporting the measure, with 10% unsure. An October poll by Emerson College and The Hill found 48% backing the ballot measure, with 17% unsure.
North Dakota’s Compassionate Care Act could see the state approving adult use, building off the backs of 2016’s medical legalization.
If approved, citizens 21 and older would be allowed to possess up to one ounce of cannabis and four grams of concentrate. The measure would also allow the home cultivation of up to three plants. A bill passage would also compel the state Department of Health and Human Services to establish policies regarding retail, including the licensure of up to 18 dispensaries.
Few, if any, recent polls have delved into statewide sentiment. A September 2022 poll conducted by the Dickinson Press of its southwest readers found support waning, with 40% supporting the measure, down from 60% when pulled in 2018.
April 2022 data from Civiqs and reported on by FiveThirtyEight found that North Dakota had the lowest support for cannabis legalization in the US, at 52%.
South Dakota voters will again look to pass adult-use legislation in 2022. The effort follows up on 2020’s passage of medical and recreational laws. Despite passing with 54% of the vote that year, the adult use component of the law was struck down by the state Supreme Court when Justices determined the ballot question violated state rules mandating ballot measures focus on a single question.
Recent polling indicates that the state is heading towards a tight race this time. An October South Dakota State University survey found that of 565 registered voters, 45% supported legalization, while 8% were undecided.
Coming Soon: Oklahoma
Oklahomans will have the opportunity to decide if they would like to see their state adopt adult use measures. But, voters will need to wait a few months longer than the rest. Their voice will be heard in March after Governor Kevin Stitt authorized a special election for the measure.
Benzinga’s Take: No matter where you stand on the issues, let your voice be heard. Do your part and vote whenever possible.
This article originally appeared on Benzinga and has been reposted with permission.