Maryland and Missouri have legalized cannabis as per the ballot initiatives in yesterday’s midterms. Also up were Arkansas and North Dakota, where voters voted against cannabis legalization.
The results for South Dakota were not in as of this publication. Still, it’s not looking good for the pro-legalization side.
Who Didn’t Legalize Cannabis?
Legal cannabis was on the ballot for Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota and South Dakota.
Arkansas voters rejected cannabis legalization, as did North Dakota voters. Both states have a medical cannabis program.
Although the results for South Dakota are not in as of this publication, poll watchers project that the “No” side will win.
South Dakota legalized cannabis in 2020, but the state’s courts nullified the ballot measure.
Of the five states, only Maryland and Missouri legalized cannabis.
Details of Maryland and Missouri Legalization of Cannabis
Missouri’s legalization involves expunging nonviolent cannabis offences. This will include freeing the people currently incarcerated for nonviolent cannabis offences. (Nonviolent offences don’t extend to selling to minors or driving under the influence, according to the laws.)
Maryland’s legalization also involves expunging past records. But the state government also plans to conduct a “public health” study on the impact of legalization and a disparity study to promote women and minority-owned businesses.
Maryland also plans to create a cannabis business assistance fund and a community reinvestment and repair fund.
“By voting for legalization, Marylanders have rejected the failed ideas of the past and have chosen to reform their laws to protect civil liberties and promote racial justice,” Erik Altieri, executive director of NORML, said in a statement.
Of all states with recreational cannabis on the ballot, Maryland was the only state that didn’t vote for Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
Maryland and Missouri Legalize Cannabis. Arkansas Does Not.
With Maryland and Missouri legalizing cannabis, there are now 21 states that have approved cannabis’ recreational use.
“A growing number of voters recognize that cannabis policy reform is in the best interest of public health and safety, criminal justice reform, social equity, and personal freedom,” Toi Hutchinson, president and CEO of the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement.
“State-level legalization victories are what’s necessary to move the needle forward at the federal level.”
Proponents hope to see legal sales begin as early as the new year. Opponents said they would work to limit the cannabis industry‘s reach. For example, allowing cities and towns to opt-out of retail establishments.
The legalization campaigns raised $23 million, with most of the funds going to Arkansas and Missouri.
In Arkansas, the theme of the pro-legalization ads was the thousands of jobs that legal cannabis would create. The “No” side warned voters of “big marijuana” influencing their kids.
Supporters say they will try again in Arkansas. The current state governor is a former head of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). He opposed the measure.
Psychedelics in Colorado?
Ten years after legalizing cannabis, Colorado voters had the option of legalizing certain psychedelic substances. As of this publication, the vote is too early to call.