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Cannabis Voting Results from the 2022 Midterms

It was a disappointing night for cannabis legalization, but not all bad.
It was a disappointing night for cannabis legalization, but not all bad. /

The November 8, 2022, midterms saw five states voting on adult-use cannabis measures.

Registered citizens of Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota, and South Dakota had their opportunity to cast their votes on Tuesday. Here are the results.

1. Arkansas [REJECTED]

The state’s current cannabis legalization status: Arkansas legalized medical cannabis in 2016 under Issue 6, awarding the state with a limited-yet-legitimate medical program that qualifying patients could take advantage of. 

The now defeated proposed cannabis measures: Issue 4 would have legalized adult-use cannabis in the state, allowing adults over the age of 21 to possess up to one ounce of cannabis at a time by 2023.

If passed, cannabis retail sales would have been subjected to a 10 percent supplemental sales tax, with the state using 30 percent of revenue to put towards public policy (like the funding of law enforcement and drug court programs), and the remaining 70 percent going to its “general fund.”

2. Maryland [APPROVED!]

The state’s current cannabis legalization status: Cannabis is currently restrictively legal in Maryland, under the state’s medical cannabis program that is open to qualifying patients.

The newly proposed cannabis measures: The state’s proposed Question 4 aims to usher the state into adult-use legalization. 

The amendment will allow anyone 21 or older to purchase, use, and possess cannabis as early as July 2023 (with a grace period of decriminalization taking place from January 2023 to June 30, 2023, and expungement being applied to anyone who was arrested for cannabis crimes that would now be considered legal in the state). 

However, the state will still have to figure out what taxes and regulations will look like in the legal market, as nothing solid has been proposed yet.

3. Missouri [APPROVED!]

The state’s current cannabis legalization status: Missouri has a medical cannabis program in place that is available to any qualifying patient over the age of 18.

The newly approved cannabis measures: The state voted on Amendment 3: a piece of legislation that will now legalize adult-use cannabis in Missouri, establish regulations for the coming industry, and expunge the criminal records of anyone who was unfairly convicted of nonviolent cannabis crimes. 

It is considered one of the most comprehensive cannabis-related measures in the plant’s history, as it outlines the details of all of the following: possession, use, consumption, manufacturing, delivery, sales, taxation, and justice reforms for the industry. If legalized, the state will implement a 6 percent retail tax on all sales.

4. North Dakota [REJECTED]

The state’s current cannabis legalization status: North Dakota also has a medical cannabis program in place, but it’s incredibly limited. The program restricts patients from being able to grow at home, which is a major issue for any medical patient who cannot travel to third-party locations.

The now defeated proposed cannabis measures: North Dakota’s Statutory Measure 2 would have fully legalized adult-use cannabis for adults over the age of 21, allowing for people to use and possess the plant, and also cultivate up to three plants at home.

The proposed measure had caused quite a stir within the state, as the language surrounding the revenue estimate put the state at a net loss of almost $2 million in just five years. 

However, this estimate didn’t include any potential cannabis sales revenue, which – although irresponsible – might have been encouraging, because including those figures showed that the state’s cannabis market is likely to increase from $18 million to $48 million by 2025.

5. South Dakota [REJECTED]

The state’s current cannabis legalization status: Measure 26 legalized medical cannabis for South Dakotans in 2020, and just two years later, the state voted on Initiated Measure 27.

The now defeated proposed cannabis measures: Initiated Measure 27 would have legalized adult-use cannabis for anyone over the age of 21. South Dakota voters had already approved adult-use cannabis once alongside medical in 2020, however Gov. Kristi Noem used taxpayer dollars to effectively crush the voter-approved amendment in court. She's probably quite happy with Tuesday's results.

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