This year’s midterm elections featured cannabis legalization ballot initiatives in five different states. With the dust finally settled and all the votes counted, it’s time to look at this year’s mixed-bag midterms.
Maryland’s Question 4 received overwhelming support, with a whopping 65.6% of voters approving the initiative. The legislation allows Marylanders to possess up to 1.5 ounces of legal cannabis and grow up to two plants at home. Question 4 also removes the criminal penalties for those possessing under 2.5 ounces of cannabis.
Those currently imprisoned on cannabis charges now have the opportunity to apply for resentencing. Individuals with past cannabis charges will have their records expunged.
The initiative goes into effect after July 1, 2023. In the meantime, Maryland’s legislature will have the difficult task of crafting the regulations that will shape the upcoming market’s distribution, regulation, and taxation parameters.
Missouri’s Amendment 3 called for an end to the state’s prohibition on the possession, consumption, purchase, sale, manufacturing, and delivery of cannabis. The initiative passed with the approval of 53.1% of Missouri voters.
With its passing, Missourians with specific cannabis-related, non-violent offenses can now petition to end their prison sentences. The initiative also includes a 6% retail tax on cannabis sales. The revenue from this tax will be used to subsidize veterans’ health care costs in addition to funding drug treatment and state public defender programs.
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Despite these statement victories, other states did not fare so well.
Early polling showed that 58.5% of Arkansas voters were in favor of the cannabis initiative Issue 4. Unfortunately, those numbers were not reflected when it was actually time to vote. A stunning 56.3% of Arkansans voted against the cannabis initiative, compared to a mere 43.7% who voted for it.
North and South Dakota did not fare much better either. In South Dakota—where voters actually approved cannabis legalization back in 2020—52.9% of voters decided they did not want legal cannabis this time around. In North Dakota, 54.9% of voters elected to keep legal cannabis out of their state.
Colorado’s Psychedelic Win
Colorado solidified its spot as a leader in drug policy with its voters deciding to legalize psychedelic plants and fungi. Colorado’s Proposition 122 passed with 51.4% of voters approving the initiative.
Going forward, Coloradans have the right to grow, possess, and use psilocybin and psilocin-containing mushrooms. Three other plant-based psychedelic substances—mescaline, ibogaine, and dimethyltryptamine—were also legalized with the passing of Proposition 122.
Which cannabis initiative outcome was the most surprising to you? Do you agree with Coloradan’s decision to legalize psychedelic plants and fungi? Let us know in the comments!