Five states to decide in November on legalizing recreational marijuana

In November, five more states will decide on marijuana legalization ballot measures. In the central U.S., voters in Arkansas, Missouri, North Dakota, and South Dakota will consider citizen-initiated measures to legalize marijuana. These four states are Republican trifectas. In Maryland, which has a divided government, the state Legislature voted to put the issue before voters.

Arkansas Issue 4: Amends the constitution to legalize the possession and use of up to one ounce of marijuana for persons who are at least 21 years old, enacts a 10% tax on marijuana sales, and requires the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Division to develop rules to regulate marijuana businesses.

Maryland Question 4: Amends the constitution to legalize marijuana for persons who are at least 21 years old beginning in July 2023 and directs the Maryland State Legislature to pass laws for the use, distribution, regulation, and taxation of marijuana.

Missouri Amendment 3: Amends the constitution tolegalize marijuana for persons who are 21 years old or older, allows individuals convicted of non-violent marijuana-related offenses to petition to be released from incarceration and/or have their records expunged, and enacts a 6% tax on the sale of marijuana.

North Dakota Statutory Measure 2: Amends state law to legalize the use and possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for persons who are 21 years old, allows individuals to grow up to three marijuana plants, and requires the Department of Health and Human Services to establish rules regulating marijuana by October 1, 2023.

South Dakota Initiated Measure 27: Amends state law to legalize marijuana for persons who are 21 years old and allows adults to possess one ounce or less of marijuana.

Heading into November, marijuana was legal in 19 states and D.C. Of those 19 states, 11 and D.C. had legalized marijuana through the ballot initiative process. One state, New Jersey, passed a legislatively referred measure.

Twenty-three states could legalize marijuana through the initiative process. Initiatives were used to legalize marijuana in 11 of the 23 states, meaning in twelve states where marijuana is currently illegal, the ballot initiative process could be used to legalize marijuana. In addition to the four states featuring marijuana initiatives in 2022, Oklahoma will vote on marijuana legalization in 2024. Marijuana legalization initiatives targeting the 2023 and 2024 ballots have also been filed in Ohio, Wyoming, Florida, and Nebraska and could be filed in Idaho, Mississippi, Nebraska, and Utah.

Additional reading: