Cannabis is on the ballot this November in five states. Voters in Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota, and South Dakota will decide whether or not to legalize adult-use marijuana on Election Day. In addition to statewide cannabis legalization efforts, voters in dozens of cities will be voting on several municipal ballot questions deciding to amend local laws or allow local cannabis shops.
Adult Use Cannabis Nationwide
Adult use cannabis has currently been legalized and regulated in 19 states, covering about 44% of the U.S. population. If all statewide efforts pass this November 2022, about half of all American residents will live in a state where adult possession and use of cannabis is legal. Polling experts predict a successful outcome as most ballot measures enjoy public support, regardless of the majority political landscape.
Many of these cannabis measures, including repealing criminalization for cannabis, enjoy majority public support across party lines. Ballot initiative efforts have historically been successful in both red and blue states, and experts expect the same this November.
Voters in four states approved similar adult-use legalization measures in 2020, Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota. Although South Dakota later nullified the state’s election results at the Supreme Court level. Similar initiatives were also approved in 2016 in California, Massachusetts, Maine, and Nevada.
Prohibitionists and Political Opponents
Due to the increase in supermajority status supporting marijuana policy reform, political opponents and prohibitionists have mostly given up efforts to try to influence public opinion. Although some of these states now rely on anti-democratic maneuvers to prevent voters from being heard on the issue. Several ballot initiatives faced litigation from opponents in an attempt to remove the ballot over technicalities. The majority of these efforts were unsuccessful, although this was not the case in Oklahoma, where prohibitionists succeeded in postponing the opportunity for voters to decide a ballot question.
Voters in Towns and Cities
Voters in dozens of towns and cities will be deciding on municipal ballot questions this November, in addition to statewide efforts. Five cities in Texas will be voting on measures to amend local laws regarding the authority of police to issue citations or make arrests for marijuana possession and offenses. Voters in several cities in Ohio will be deciding on decriminalizing marijuana possession activities.
Voters in 31 towns in Rhode Island will be deciding whether or not to allow licensed cannabis retailers in their localities. Similar local measures are on the ballot in several cities in other states, such as Michigan, Montana, and Colorado. According to NORML’s State Policy Manager, between local and state efforts, the initiatives this fall will affect more than 18 million Americans. NORML is an organization dedicated to legalizing in the responsible use of marijuana by adults and to advocating for consumers to ensure access to high-quality cannabis that is affordable, convenient, and safe.
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