Recreational Marijuana Legalization Is On The Ballot In These States

A recreational marijuana smoker indulges in smoking weed on April 14, 2020 in the Bushwick section of the Brooklyn borough of New York City.

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Voters in a handful of states, including four that traditionally favor Republicans, will decide on Tuesday whether to legalize recreational marijuana, paving the way for its sale and cultivation in newly regulated markets across the country.

Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota and South Dakota could join 19 other states and the District of Columbia that have already legalized recreational marijuana. The votes come about a month after President Joe Biden urged state and local officials to follow his lead in pardon those convicted of prior federal charges of simple possession of marijuana.


In 2016, Arkansas became the first state in the Deep South to approve medical cannabis. It can now become the first state in the region to legalize recreational use if approved by voters Number 4which would create a regulated market for adult use.

The measure would allow adults to purchase up to one ounce of cannabis from licensed retailers and implement a 10% sales tax. Those funds would go toward law enforcement, operations at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, and drug court programs authorized under the Arkansas Drug Court Act, according to the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.

It also allows 20 non-medical marijuana cultivation licenses and up to 120 non-medical dispensary licenses, but lacks provisions to expunge criminal records for marijuana convictions and to grow plants at home.

Issue 4, sponsored by Responsible Growth Arkansas, drew pushback from opposition groups, including the state’s Republican governor, Asa Hutchinson, who spoke out against federal pardons for Biden.

“We have to make sure we don’t move to decriminalizing drugs that harm Americans. The fact that a drug is illegal discourages its use”, Hutchinson said.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Trump’s former press secretary and favorite to be the next governor of Arkansas, also opposes the amendment.

A Talk Business & Politics Survey-Hendrix College shows that 50.5% support legalization and 43% oppose it, the rest being undecided.


If Maryland’s Question 4 passes, it will join neighboring Washington, DC and Virginia in legalizing marijuana for recreational use.

the proposed amendment would allow adults to possess up to 1.5 ounces, or two marijuana plants, beginning July 1, 2023. It also offers people who were arrested for marijuana possession to have their records expunged, and others serving time for simple possession to have their sentences reconsidered. It would also establish a cannabis business assistance fund for small businesses, as well as minority- and women-owned businesses entering the adult-use cannabis industry, among other provisions.

A Washington Post-University of Maryland Survey found that 73% of voters are in favor of legalizing the use of cannabis for people over the age of 21.

Maryland legalized medical marijuana in 2013 and a year later decriminalized possession of 10 grams or less of cannabis.

If approved, Question 4 would go into effect on July 1, 2023.


Missouri Amendment 3 It would allow adults in the state to purchase and possess up to three ounces of marijuana and grow up to six flowering plants at home.

A 6% sales tax on recreational marijuana would go toward facilitating automatic expungement of criminal records for people with certain nonviolent marijuana-related crimes on their records, veterans’ health care, substance abuse treatment substances and the state public defense system.

Amendment 3 also adds at least 144 new small businesses to the existing licensed and certified medical marijuana businesses in the state, according to Legal Missouri 2022, the advocacy group that sponsored the measure. New license holders will be selected by lottery.

The state’s Republican Governor, Mike Parson, opposes the measure, calling it a “disaster.” according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

A Emerson College survey and The Hill survey He showed 48% support for the amendment among likely voters.

North Dakota

Marijuana legalization failed to pass in North Dakota when it appeared on the ballot in 2018, losing by a 41% to 59% margin.

this election, New North Dakota Approach got a revised proposition back on the ballot. measure 2 would allow possession of up to one ounce of marijuana; grant permits to 18 retailers and seven grow facilities; impose a 5% cannabis consumption tax; and allow people three cannabis plants for home cultivation.

“The 2018 initiative was not written with sufficient safeguards,” said Jared Moffat, campaign manager for New Approach North Dakota and campaign manager for the Marijuana Policy Project. He said the 2018 proposal lacked driving under the influence guidelines and employee drug-testing policies.

“We’ve heard from many North Dakotans who voted against the 2018 ballot measure and who support Measure 2 this year,” he said.

New Approach North Dakota has raised more than half a million dollars, most of which went to signature drives to get the proposal on the ballot, according to Moffat. He has also been distributing yard signs, texting voters and running radio ads.

South Dakota

South Dakota is the only state among the five where its legal marijuana proposal does not include the creation of a regulated market. Instead, voters will consider home ownership and cultivation.

In 2020, voters approved a constitutional amendment to legalize cannabis, but the state’s supreme court overturned the results on technical grounds, a move championed by Republican Gov. Kristi Noem.

The new proposal measure 27, would limit possession to one ounce of marijuana. People could own up to three plants at home, as long as they live in a jurisdiction where there is no licensed retail marijuana store.

According to, there are some differences between the 2020 version and Measure 27. In 2020, the proposal covered licensing, taxes, local government marijuana regulations, and hemp-related regulations. Measure 27 stays away from these areas.

Fifty-one percent of voters plan to vote no on Measure 27, while 40% plan to vote yes, according to Emerson University Survey.

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