Voters in five states could legalize recreational marijuana through ballot action Tuesday, as more parts of the country move to allow access to the drug that remains federally illegal.
Maryland, North Dakota, South Dakota, Missouri and Arkansas all have legal pot referendums that could change state law for more than 17 million people in those states.
Maryland voters will decide whether or not to change their constitution to make marijuana legal. On the ballot, voters will be asked: “Do you support legalizing the use of cannabis by an individual 21 years of age or older on or after July 1, 2023 in the State of Maryland?”
As the only blue state with a marijuana-related ballot question this cycle, Maryland is considered the most likely to see its measure pass.
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Efforts to legalize recreational marijuana in North Dakota have been ongoing for years — a 2018 ballot measure on the issue failed. The state legislature in 2021 also toyed with the idea of legalizing marijuana through legislation, though it ultimately failed to act.
However, again this year, activists had the issue of marijuana legalization on the ballot in the Peace Garden State.
“This would allow the production, processing and sale of cannabis as well as the possession and use of various forms of cannabis by persons aged 21 and over,” reads a summary of the measure on the Secretary of State’s website. State of North Dakota. .
It would also “direct a state entity to regulate and register adult cannabis production businesses, dispensaries and their agents.”
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The South Dakota measure, according to an explanation from the state attorney general, “legalizes the possession, use, and distribution of marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia by persons 21 years of age and older.”
South Dakota’s measure would limit the possession and distribution of marijuana to one ounce.
The Missouri referendum would remove prohibitions on the “purchase, possession, consumption, use, delivery, manufacture, and sale of marijuana for personal use for adults over the age of twenty-one.” The initiative would establish a 6% tax on retail sales of recreational marijuana.
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The measure would also erase the records of some people convicted of marijuana-related offences.
It was unclear until September whether voters in Arkansas would have a chance to decide whether to legalize recreational marijuana in their state. A state board ruled the “ballot title” was misleading and did not provide enough information about what exactly it would do.
However, the Arkansas Supreme Court overturned that decision, allowing the ballot title to pass before voters.
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If passed, the amendment would legalize “adult-use dispensaries to sell adult-use cannabis products.” It would implement a 10% sales tax on retail cannabis sales, and the proceeds would be used for “an annual stipend for certified law enforcement officers,” drug court programs, and drug-regulating agencies. marijuana.