Five states had marijuana legalization measures on their ballots for the 2022 midterm elections but voters in three of them rejected the proposals.
Here’s how Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota and South Dakota voted on their respective cannabis legalization ballots.
Issue 4 would have legalized recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older and established a 10 percent excise tax on sales, but it was rejected by 56 percent of voters.
The measure faced opposition not only from social conservatives but also marijuana reform advocates who felt the proposed reform’s provisions didn’t go far enough in terms of promoting social equity.
The group behind the measure, Responsible Growth Arkansas, suggested it may submit a new proposal to reform Arkansas’ marijuana laws for the 2024 ballot.
Voters in Maryland came out heavily in favor of Question 4. After securing more than 65 percent of the vote, cannabis will be legalized in the Old Line State for adults 21 and older starting July 1, 2023.
Adults may possess up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis, with amounts greater than this but less than 2.5 ounces punishable by a civil fine of up to $250. Possession of more than 2.5 ounces will be a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000.
When marijuana becomes legal, adults will also be able to grow up to two cannabis plants at home.
Question 4 includes provisions to reform Maryland’s cannabis laws for a legal adult-use market but the framework for this will be established by lawmakers in the next legislative session.
Just over 53 percent of Missouri voters supported Amendment 3 to legalize adult-use cannabis.
From December 8, 2022, it will be legal under MO marijuana laws for adults 21 and older to possess up to three ounces of cannabis or its equivalent in concentrates. Adults will also be able to cultivate six mature plants, six immature plants and six plants under 14 inches at home for personal use.
The first recreational cannabis dispensaries are expected to open as early as February, 2023, with existing medical marijuana dispensaries first in line to receive adult-use licenses.
North Dakota voters opted against Measure 2 with 55 percent of the vote. This marks the second time that voters in the state have rejected a proposal to legalize cannabis.
Measure 2 would have legalized purchases and possession of cannabis for adults 21 and older.
Despite having approved a 2020 marijuana legalization ballot proposal that was later overruled by the state Supreme Court, voters in South Dakota rejected a measure to legalize cannabis this time around.
To comply with the court’s ruling, the group behind the measure, South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, omitted provisions concerning cannabis taxes and regulations in this year’s effort.