November is among us, and aside from the turkey gobbling, giving thanks, and Veterans Day celebrations, the eagerly anticipated elections are looming. Election Day, which kicks off Nov. 8, will see voters render a verdict on a broad scope of drug policy reform issues via their midterm ballots.
This year, voters will have the opportunity to decide whether or not recreational cannabis can be used legally in a total of five states: Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
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Each of the five states that are pushing in the direction of marijuana legalization takes a unique approach. Let’s explore:
Back in 2016, a constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana was given the green light by voters in Arkansas. This year, an amendment that is set to be voted on at the November elections would grant adults aged 21 and above the opportunity to legally possess up to one ounce of cannabis. Additionally, the measure would legalize cannabis use for adults 21 and legalize commercial cannabis sales at a taxation of 10%.
A total of 15% of tax revenue would be earmarked to support law enforcement officials certified by the Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training on an annual basis. Existing medical cannabis business license holders would also be authorized to sell cannabis at their existing locations and could launch one new location strictly for commercial sale. An extra 40 licenses would be distributed to businesses via a lottery process.
This year’s cannabis legalization midterm ballot measure would legally allow adults aged 21 and above to consume and possess cannabis, as well as allow the state’s legislature to enact laws putting in place distribution, regulation, and taxation parameters. A new poll published by Baltimore Sun Media and the University of Baltimore revealed that 63% of voters plan to approve the referendum, whereas 25% are opposed to cannabis reform and 12% remain unsure.
If enough Missourians cast their votes in favor of Amendment 3, state prohibitions on personal cannabis possession, consumption, use, purchase, sale, manufacturing, and delivering would be legalized for adults aged 21 and above. Prescribed limits would be imposed on personal cultivation, for which a registration card would be required.
The proposed law would also enable people with specific cannabis-related non-violent offenses to petition for freedom from incarceration, parole, and probation, as well as have their records expunged and establish a lottery process for the awarding of licenses and certificates. A 6% tax is to be imposed on the retail price of cannabis to benefit various programs.
North Dakotans will vote on two initiated measures during the general election on Tuesday, November 8. Measure 1 seeks to amend the North Dakota Constitution to include gubernatorial and legislative term limits, whereas Measure 2 would establish a new section of the North Dakota Century Code legalizing cannabis sale, production, processing, and possession and use of various forms of cannabis by people aged 21 and above.
Measure 2, on the other hand, would legalize statewide recreational cannabis use for people aged over 21, as well as provide employer rights, penalties, protections, penalties, and limitations pertaining to cannabis product use.
For the second time in the last two years, South Dakota voters will cast their vote on adult-use cannabis legalization. Medical cannabis in South Dakota was legalized on July 1, 2021 via a ballot initiative that took place on November 3, 2020. Initiated Measure 27 would legalize the possession, use, and distribution of marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia by people aged 21 and above.
Should the law pass, individuals would be allowed to possess one ounce or less of marijuana. Distributing the plant to the amount of one ounce of less without payment or other consideration would also be accepted.
Also on the November midterm ballots is Colorado’s Proposition 122 – Decriminalization and Regulated Access Program for Certain Psychedelic Plants and Fungi Initiative (2022).
The measure would enable adults to grow, possess, and use psilocybin- and psilocin containing mushrooms, as well as decriminalize three plant-based psychedelic substances: mescaline, ibogaine, and dimethyltryptamine.
Moreover, Prop. 122 would permit the state to establish rules for facilities where adults aged 21 and above can purchase and consume the psychedelics in a supervised setting.
As of June, psilocybin possession has been decriminalized in 15 cities and other local U.S. jurisdictions, as well as the de-prioritization of policing, prosecution, and arrest of consumers. Denver, CO was the first city to decriminalize psilocybin possession in May 2019, followed by the Californian cities of Oakland and Santa Cruz.
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