4 States Considering Cannabis in the November Elections
October 29, 2018
October 29, 2018
Contributing Writer: Sumer Thomas
Four more U.S. states are considering legalizing cannabis this November, potentially bringing the number of states where marijuana is illegal down to 17. Two states propose the legalization of medical marijuana, and two states face the question of whether to legalize marijuana for adult use.
Medical marijuana is currently legal in 31 states, while adult use (which includes medicinal use) is legal in 9 states plus the District of Columbia. That’s 62% of U.S. states with legal marijuana. Keeping with those figures, a recent Pew Research Center survey found that 62% of Americans are pro-legalization. Overall, less than 20 U.S. states don’t allow legal medical or adult-use marijuana, though most of those do allow CBD, a non-psychoactive compound of cannabis.
States with Illegal Medical & Adult-Use Marijuana:
9. Missouri – on the November 2018 ballot!
11. North Carolina
12. South Carolina
13. South Dakota
16. Utah – on the November 2018 ballot!
Four Major Cannabis Ballot Initiatives
This year’s Fab Four (those states with pending legalization) are: Utah, Missouri, North Dakota, and Michigan. Utah and Missouri are looking to pass their first medical marijuana legalization, while North Dakota and Michigan are poised to decide on adult use.
Medical Marijuana Legalization
Utah is in an interesting position for the November ballot. While 77% of residents favor legalization, recent polls show that support for the ballot initiative is falling, likely because of recent compromise legislation drafted by proponents and opponents of marijuana legalization in the legislature. With just a couple weeks until the election, the compromise legislation appears to be taking steam out of ballot initiative support, and especially unfortunate for potential patients in Utah, the legislature’s compromise agreement just received a failing grade from Americans for Safe Access with its worse scores coming from the “Access to Medicine” category, earning an abysmal 7 out of 100 possible points.
One Utah senator, and self-proclaimed “marijuana virgin,” decided to try his first marijuana edible gummy on video, and reported,
“I felt a little high, you know, a little bit OK, but it didn’t change my life,” the senator said. “It wasn’t like ahhh! So, everybody, mellow out. Recognize that this is nothing to be afraid of ‘cause the people that are terrified by it seem to be the people who have never tried it.” -Jim Dabakis (D), Utah
Watch both videos of the Senator’s findings here.
If you live in Missouri, there’s a good chance you support medical marijuana legalization—according to a recent poll, a majority of Missourians do. However, even if you live in Missouri and support medical marijuana legalization, there’s a good chance the three competing medical marijuana ballot initiatives leave your head spinning. Though all three would allow some sort of access to medical marijuana, Amendment 2 is backed by legalization activists and boasts the most prestigious cannabis industry endorsements. Find out more detailed differences between the three here.
Adult-Use Marijuana Legalization
3. NORTH DAKOTA
Snuggled up against the border of our newly cannabis-friendly Canadian neighbors, North Dakota already legalized medical marijuana in 2016. The state has approved two cultivator/processors and is currently working through the second round of licensing for its 8 planned dispensaries. As for adult-use marijuana on the upcoming ballot, polling is all over the place, with some sources reporting a slim victory and others showing overwhelming opposition. Measure 3 charts its own course, showing little similarity to previously successful legalization language. Measure 3 is loosely written, giving plenty of (some argue too much) leeway for the state legislature to establish a regulatory framework if the measure passes.
A decade ago this November, Michiganders legalized medical marihuana, and became the 13th state to do so. Since the ‘70s, however, Michigan has been notoriously lenient with its local marihuana laws, particularly in the college town of Ann Arbor. This year, the folks of the mitten and U.P. will decide whether adult-use marihuana should be legal for those over the age of 21. Polling shows most voters are pro-cannabis, with a margin of 56% to 38% (with only 6% undecided) supporting legalizing adult-use marihuana. If Michigan legalizes recreational marihuana this November, they’ll become the 10th (or 11th, counting North Dakota) U.S. state to do so.