LITTLE ROCK, Ark. –
Voters in five US states are deciding on Election Day whether to approve recreational marijuana, a move that could signal a major shift towards legalization in even conservative areas. most of the country.
The proposals are being voted on in Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota and South Dakota and follow President Joe Biden’s moves towards de-decimating marijuana. Last month, Biden announced an amnesty for thousands of Americans convicted of simple marijuana possession under federal law.
Supporters of cannabis initiatives say Biden’s announcement could boost their efforts.
Recreational marijuana is legal in 19 states, and polls have shown opposition to legalization dwindling. All states with recreational marijuana on the ballot, except Maryland, voted for Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
Five states now also have legal medical marijuana programs. That includes Arkansas, which in 2016 became the first Bible Belt state to approve medical marijuana. The state’s dispensaries opened in 2019 and more than 91,000 patients have cards to legally purchase cannabis for medical conditions.
Legalization campaigns have raised about $23 million in five states, with the majority in Arkansas and Missouri. More than 85% of donations in those two states come from sponsors affiliated with companies that hold medical marijuana licenses, according to an Associated Press analysis of the most recent campaign finance reports.
In Arkansas, supporters ran upbeat ads touting the thousands of jobs they thought would be created by this measure. Protesters ran more ominous points, warning voters to “protect Arkansas from large amounts of marijuana.”
The initiative has drawn criticism from opponents of traditional legalization as well as some medical marijuana advocates, who say the Arkansas proposal places too many limits and will only beneficial to a few health stations. Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson, a former head of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, also opposed the measure.
Missouri’s proposal would legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older and remove records of past arrests and convictions for nonviolent marijuana offenses, excluding sales to children minors or driving under the influence. Maryland’s proposal would also create changes to criminal law and automatically remove past marijuana possession convictions.
North Dakota’s measure would allow people 21 years of age and older to legally use marijuana at home as well as possess and grow limited quantities of marijuana. It will also establish policies to regulate retail stores, growers and other types of cannabis businesses.
South Dakotans, including a large number of Republicans, voted to legalize marijuana possession by 2020, but that law was partially overturned by the state Supreme Court because of the proposal. is combined with medical marijuana and hemp. This year, the entertainment pitcher is standing firm as it gets ahead of voters.
In Colorado, where recreational marijuana has been legal for nearly a decade, voters on Tuesday are putting forward a proposal to authorize the use of certain hallucinogens. If approved, Colorado would become the second state to take such a step.