Author

Jackie Mitchell

Jackie Mitchell is a state ballot measures staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

Votes for Arkansas marijuana legalization initiative will be counted

Votes for Arkansas Issue 4, a marijuana legalization initiative on the November ballot, will be counted after the Arkansas Supreme Court overturned the Arkansas State Board of Election Commissioners’ decision to not certify the initiative’s ballot title.

Responsible Growth Arkansas, the campaign behind the marijuana legalization initiative, submitted more than 190,000 signatures on July 8. The Arkansas secretary of state announced on July 29 that the campaign had submitted more than the required number of valid signatures (89,151) and qualified for the ballot.

On Aug. 3, 2022, the election commissioners declined to certify the ballot title and popular name for the initiative, stating that the language was misleading. The next day, Responsible Growth Arkansas filed a lawsuit in the state Supreme Court. The campaign said the board “[thwarted] the will of the people and their right to adopt laws by initiative.” The campaign requested an expedited review because the deadline for the secretary of state to certify measures for the 2022 ballot was August 25. On August 11, the state Supreme Court ordered the secretary of state to certify the measure for the ballot.

Under Issue 4, adults 21 years old and older would be authorized to possess up to one ounce of marijuana. Adults could possess up to one ounce of marijuana. By March 7, 2023, businesses that already hold licenses under the state’s medical marijuana program would be authorized to sell adult-use marijuana at their existing dispensaries and one additional location for adult-use marijuana sales only. By July 5, 2023, an additional 40 licenses would be given to businesses chosen by a lottery and would need to be located at least five miles away from a dispensary with an active license. The Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Division of the Department of Finance and Administration would regulate the program and provide for licensing.

Responsible Growth Arkansas has raised $4.01 million according to campaign finance reports covering information through August 31. The campaign said Issue 4 would “[support] law enforcement salaries and bolster local police budgets so that our officers can go after serious crime,” “[improve] the Arkansas’ existing medical marijuana program by removing burdensome taxes that are currently being paid by qualified patients receiving medical treatment,” and “safely legalize the sale of cannabis to adults 21 and older and create revenue that goes to more funding for local police departments.”

Safe and Secure Communities registered to oppose the initiative and has raised $2 million. Safe and Secure Communities said, “We’re on a mission to save Arkansas from the destructive effects of legalized drugs, and we need your support. Many cities around the nation are destroyed, and now Arkansas is at risk. Help keep Arkansas communities secure and our citizens safe. The pot industry is directly targeting kids, even though hundreds of scientific studies show that marijuana – especially today’s high-potency weed – permanently damages the teenage brain. Teens who smoke pot regularly drop out at twice the rate of non-users, and as adults they earn less and have a lower IQ. Marijuana-related policy changes, including legalization, have significant unintended consequences for children, adolescents, and cities large and small.”

Marijuana legalization measures are certified to appear on the 2022 ballot in Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Currently, 19 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized the possession and personal use of marijuana for recreational purposes. Eleven states and D.C. had legalized marijuana through the ballot initiative process. A marijuana legalization initiative targeting the 2022 ballot in Oklahoma was ordered to appear on the 2024 ballot after legal challenges were not resolved before state deadlines to print ballots.



Challenge period for Oklahoma marijuana initiative ends with four challenges filed; state supreme court to decide on whether the initiative will appear on the 2022 ballot

A 10-day challenge period for Oklahoma marijuana initiative State Question 820 ended on September 15 with four challenges filed with the state Supreme Court. In addition to resolving the challenges, the Supreme Court is also set to decide on whether the measure will be placed on the November 2022 ballot.

Once signatures for an initiative are submitted, the secretary of state’s office counts the signatures and submits a report to the court. On August 22, the secretary of state announced that proponents submitted 117,257 valid signatures and forwarded the signature count report to the Oklahoma Supreme Court. After the supreme court determines the sufficiency of signatures, the court orders the secretary of state to publish a notice of the signature submission, the ballot title, and notice that any citizen may file a petition challenging the sufficiency of the signatures or ballot title within 10 days.

The challenge period for State Question 820 began on September 1 and ended on September 15, 2022. Two challenges were filed related to the validity of signatures submitted for the initiative and two challenges were filed related to the initiative’s ballot language.

Former Oklahoma State Rep. Mike Reynolds (R) and former gubernatorial candidate Paul Tay (I) filed lawsuits with the Oklahoma Supreme Court challenging the validity of signatures submitted by proponents. Reynolds argued that the validity of signatures cannot be reviewed without taking legal action to review them and requested a signature review period. Tay argued that signatures collected on American Indian lands should be invalidated. Attorneys for initiative sponsors said, “As this Court is aware, ballot deadlines are looming, and time is of the essence here. Proponents thus respectfully request that the Court resolve the instant challenge quickly, to ensure that SQ820 may be submitted to a vote of the People at the upcoming November 2022 general election.”

A challenge to the initiative’s ballot language was filed by John Stotts, a former member of the Pottawatomie County Farm Bureau board of directors; Karma Robinson, president of public affairs and political communications firm GR Pro; and Mary Chris Barth, a current member of the Beaver County Farm Bureau’s board of directors. The challenge alleged that the ballot language is misleading because it fails to mention that “several laws protecting children from marijuana would be removed,” “possession of a firearm while under the influence of marijuana would be legalized,” and “more serious marijuana crimes would be legalized or decriminalized.”

A second challenge to the ballot language was filed by Oklahomans for Responsible Cannabis Action director Jed Green, sponsor of other proposed marijuana initiatives for which no signatures were submitted by the August deadline. Green alleged that State Question 820’s ballot language is misleading because it fails to mention that the initiative could be amended by the state legislature if approved by voters, public consumption fines would be limited to $25, and that medical marijuana dispensaries would need a second license to sell adult-use marijuana.

After an initiative petition is found to have sufficient signatures and all challenges have been resolved, the secretary of state notifies the governor, who issues an election proclamation. The governor’s election proclamation must be issued and certified to the State Election Board at least 70 days prior to an election in order for a state question to appear on a ballot. Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax said August 29 (70 days prior to the general election) was the deadline to formally certify measures for the ballot.

State Question 820 sponsors asked the Oklahoma Supreme Court to expedite the ballot title verification process and include the measure on the November 2022 ballot, saying that “The new process took about 48 days from the time we turned in our signatures until the time they were verified. In the past, that was usually about two weeks or a little longer. It’s been a new process for them, which has caused a lot of missteps along the way. They have dropped the ball, which is why we have asked the Supreme Court to intervene.” The state argued for the measure to be placed on the ballot for a later election — either a special election if one is called or the 2024 ballot.

In a press release published on September 16, the State Question 820 campaign said proponents “remain optimistic that the Oklahoma Supreme Court will act swiftly to dismiss the seemingly politically motivated challenges, and let the people vote.”

Marijuana legalization measures are certified to appear on the 2022 ballot in Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Votes on the Arkansas initiative may not be counted pending a state Supreme Court ruling.



North Dakota term limits initiative certified for November ballot

Voters in North Dakota will decide on an initiative to establish term limits for state legislators and the governor in November. In March, the Secretary of State Al Jaeger (R) announced that proponents did not submit a sufficient number of valid signatures. However, proponents appealed to the North Dakota Supreme Court. On Sep. 7, the court ruled 5-0 that the initiative must be placed on the ballot for November 8.

North Dakota for Term Limits, the campaign behind the measure, submitted 46,366 signatures to the North Dakota secretary of state’s office on February 15. To qualify for the ballot, 31,164 of the signatures needed to be valid.

On March 22, Jaeger announced that proponents did not submit a sufficient number of valid signatures and that the measure would not appear on the ballot. Jaeger found that of the 46,366 signatures submitted, 17,625 were valid — 13,539 less than the requirement. Signatures were invalidated for notary errors; address, full name, and date omissions; duplicate signatures; and for petitions signed by those with out-of-state addresses. The secretary of state’s office and the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation said they suspected signatures of being forged and that petition circulators were being paid per signature, which is against state law. Jaeger invalidated 21,634 signatures that had been notarized by Zeph Toe, a notary public, after finding that some of the signatures notarized by Toe contained inconsistencies.

Sponsors of the measure wrote a letter to Secretary of State Al Jaeger saying that he rejected signatures unlawfully, stating, “In your opinion, roughly 29,101 of the signatures submitted by the Committee were invalid for various reasons. Just five days prior, in a meeting in your office with Jared Hendrix (chairperson of the Committee), you indicated that your office had determined that roughly 7,000 signatures were invalid and would not be counted. An additional 22,000 signatures were ‘disqualified’ in the five days between March 17 and March 22. No expense was spared in attempting to disqualify this petition, and the full scope of the use of taxpayer resources to frustrate the will of the electors is only beginning to come into focus. The state’s validation process here should be subject to a full inquiry.”

On Aug. 12, initiative sponsors asked the North Dakota Supreme Court to order Secretary of State Al Jaeger to place the measure on the November ballot, arguing that Jaeger improperly invalidated signatures. The state Supreme Court ordered a district court to review the claim, which found that Jaeger was correct in invalidating the signatures. District Judge James S. Hill wrote, “Because of these obvious errors, Secretary Jaeger could not, with confidence, state that the other petitions notarized by Toe were without errors or fraud. Therefore, he determined that all of the affidavits notarized by Toe were untrustworthy and none of them could be counted.”

On Sep. 7, the state Supreme Court reversed the district court’s ruling, finding that Jaeger misapplied the law when invalidating the signatures, writing, “The Secretary of State applied the logical inference of the common law maxim ‘false in one thing, false in all things.” The court found that over 15,000 invalidated signatures should have been certified; therefore, proponents had submitted enough signatures to qualify the measure for the ballot.

The initiative would limit the governor to serving two terms. It would limit state legislators to serving eight years in the state House and eight years in the state Senate. A member of the House or Senate could not serve a term or remaining portion of a term if it would cause the legislator to have served a cumulative time of more than eight years in the chamber. The measure would only apply to individuals elected after approval of the amendment. The measure would provide that the amendment’s provisions can only be amended by citizen-initiated measures and not by the Legislature.



Seattle voters to decide on whether to adopt approval voting or ranked-choice voting for city primary elections

In November, Seattle voters will vote on Proposition 1A and 1B to decide whether to adopt an approval voting system or a ranked-choice voting system for municipal primary elections. Currently, Seattle uses a plurality voting system for primary elections for the mayor, city attorney, and city council, in which the candidate receiving the most votes advances to the general election. This system is sometimes referred to as first-past-the-post or winner-take-all and is the most common voting system used in the United States.

The group Seattle Approves collected enough valid signatures for Initiative 134, which would establish an approval voting system for Seattle primary elections. The Seattle City Council could pass the initiative as an ordinance, reject it, send it to voters, or send it to voters along with an alternative proposal.

On July 14, the Seattle City Council voted 7-2 to reject Initiative 134 and adopt a ranked-choice voting system instead. Councilmember Andrew Lewis sponsored a resolution to place the ranked-choice voting alternative proposal on the ballot along with Initiative 134’s approval voting proposal. Lewis said, “This discussion has gotten to a point where we run a risk of making a more undemocratic decision by depriving the voters of making that choice [between approval voting and ranked-choice voting]. In essence, there would be a proxy vote where voting ‘No’ on approval voting would be reflecting a ‘Yes’ vote for [ranked-choice voting] anyway.”

Voters will first decide on Question 1, asking whether either of the two proposed voting systems should be adopted. Voters would then decide on Question 2 to choose between Proposition 1A (Initiative 134) for approval voting or Proposition 1B (City Ordinance 126625) for ranked-choice voting. Voters opposed to adopting a new voting system who vote ‘no’ on Question 1 can still vote for their preferred option in Question 2. If the first question is approved by a majority of voters, the option receiving the highest number of votes would be adopted.

Voting for Proposition 1A would implement Initiative 134, which would establish approval voting for Seattle primary elections for mayor, city attorney, and city council. Under the approval voting system, voters would vote for however many candidates they choose. The primary ballot would include instructions stating, “vote for AS MANY as you approve of” for each office. The top two candidates receiving the most votes would advance to the general election.

Logan Bowers, volunteer co-chair of Seattle Approves, said, “If you’ve ever debated between voting for a candidate that you really like and another you like less but has the big money backing to win, you’ve experienced the problem with our existing elections. The money flowing into elections combined with the flaws in our current voting system means our elections aren’t a fair assessment of what voters want. Too often, voters feel compelled to vote strategically based on who they think can win.”

Voting for Proposition 1B would implement the city council’s proposed alternative measure, which would establish ranked-choice voting for Seattle primary elections for mayor, city attorney, and city council. Under the ranked-choice voting system, voters would rank candidates according to their preferences. The candidates with the fewest votes would be eliminated and the voters’ second choice would be counted for the remaining candidates until two candidates remain to advance to the general election. Voters would be able to rank up to five candidates. Ballots would include instructions stating, “Rank candidates in the order of your choice.”

Lisa Ayrault, director of FairVote Washington, said, “We think it would be an unfortunate choice for Seattle to go in that direction (of approval voting), when ranked-choice voting has such a proven track record of success. Where people tend to have strong preferences about their first choices and care a lot about the outcomes … ranked-choice voting is the best.”



Colorado voters to decide on three alcohol-related ballot initiatives in November

Coloradans will see three initiated measures – Initiatives 96, 121, and 122 – on the November ballot related to alcohol. The secretary of state announced that the measures qualified for the ballot on August 26. To qualify for the ballot, sponsors needed to submit 124,632 valid signatures for each proposal.

Initiative 96 would incrementally increase the number of retail liquor store licenses an individual may own or hold a share in from three to 20 in 2036 and an unlimited number in 2037. Coloradans for Consumer Choice and Retail Fairness, the campaign behind the measure, received $2.2 million and has the support of Colorado Fine Wines & Spirits LLC, U.S. Rep. David Trone (D-Maryland), and his brother who co-owns Total Wine with him, Robert Trone. Sponsors for Initiative 96 submitted 225,440 signatures and 149,799 were projected to be valid.

Initiatives 121 and 122, sponsored by Wine in Grocery Stores, received $3.97 million from DoorDash and InstaCart. Initiative 121 would create a new fermented malt beverage and wine retailer license to allow grocery stores, convenience stores, and other businesses that are licensed to sell beer to also sell wine. Initiative 122 would allow retail establishments licensed to sell alcohol for off-site consumption to offer a delivery service or allow for a third-party alcohol delivery service.

For Initiative 121, 192,017 signatures were submitted and 142,697 were projected to be valid. For Initiative 122, 185,790 signatures were submitted and 139,312 were projected to be valid.

The initiatives are among 11 ballot measures that Colorado voters will decide in November. Three other citizen-initiated measures were certified for the ballot. Additionally, the Colorado State Legislature referred three constitutional amendments and two statutory measures to the ballot.

From 1985 through 2020, an average of nine measures appeared on the statewide ballot during even-numbered years in Colorado. The approval rate for measures on the ballot in even-numbered years was 47.34%.



Colorado to vote on housing programs initiative in November

Colorado voters will decide on an initiative to create a new State Affordable Housing Fund in November. Proponents submitted 230,748 signatures for the measure on August 4, 2022. On August 19, the Colorado secretary of state’s office announced that the initiative qualified for the ballot. Through random sample verification, 149,072 were projected to be valid. To qualify for the ballot, 124,631 valid signatures were required.

The initiative, sponsored by Coloradans for Affordable Housing Now, would dedicate one-tenth of one percent (0.01%) of state income tax revenue to the State Affordable Housing Fund.

Colorado has a flat income tax rate of 4.55% of federal taxable income. An initiative also on the November 2022 ballot would decrease the rate to 4.40% beginning January 1, 2022.

Under the initiative, affordable housing would be defined as rental housing that is “affordable to a household with an annual income of at or below 60% of the area median income, and that costs the household less than 30% of its monthly income,” and “for-sale housing that could be purchased by a household with an annual income of at or below 100% of the area median income, for which the mortgage payment costs the household less than 30% of its monthly income.”

Funds would be used to:

  • provide grants to local governments and loans to nonprofit organizations to acquire and maintain land for the development of affordable housing;
  • create an affordable housing equity program to make equity investments in multi-family rental units to ensure that rent is no more than 30% of a household’s income;
  • create a concessionary debt program to provide debt financing for low- and middle-income multi-family rental developments and existing affordable housing projects;
  • create an affordable home ownership program providing down-payment assistance for homebuyers meeting certain income requirements;
  • create a grant program for local governments to increase capacity to process land use, permitting, and zoning applications for housing projects; and
  • create a program to provide rental assistance, housing vouchers, and other case management for persons experiencing homelessness.

For fiscal year 2022-23, $135 million was estimated to be allocated to the State Affordable Housing Fund. For the first full fiscal year, FY 2023-24, the Colorado Legislative Council Staff estimated that $270 million would be transferred from the state general fund to the State Affordable Housing Fund. The initiative would authorize the state to retain and spend these funds as a voter-approved revenue change above the state’s TABOR limits, which it would otherwise be required to refund to taxpayers.

The Colorado Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) requires voter approval for all new taxes, tax rate increases, extensions of expiring taxes, mill levy increases, valuation for property assessment increases, or tax policy changes resulting in increased tax revenue. TABOR limits the amount of money the state of Colorado can take in and spend. It limits the annual increase for some state revenue to inflation plus the percentage change in state population. Any money collected above this limit is refunded to taxpayers unless the voters allow the state to spend it.

Coloradans for Affordable Housing Now has raised $2.8 million from donors including Gary Ventures Inc., the National Association of Realtors, Colorado Low Income Housing Campaign, and Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver.

Brian Rossbert, executive director of Housing Colorado said, “The people of Colorado have spoken, and they want to make Colorado affordable. Too many Coloradans can no longer afford to live in the neighborhoods where they set down roots. That’s forcing families to make difficult relocation decisions, robbing our communities of essential services and intensifying our homelessness crisis. This measure is desperately needed if we want future generations of Coloradans to thrive.”

Natalie Menten, a TABOR Foundation board member, said, “If this passes, the number on that TABOR refund check is going to be smaller. And potentially in some years, there won’t be a check coming to you because this will take all of it. I oppose this on multiple levels. Many of us don’t want to live in downtown. But what this measure is driving us to do is get more high-density housing and that is not what I want to see more of, frankly.”

Seven other measures are currently certified to appear on the November ballot in Colorado. Three initiatives concerning alcohol in grocery and convenience stores, alcohol delivery, and liquor store licenses are in the process of signature verification and could qualify for the ballot.

From 1985 through 2020, an average of nine measures appeared on the statewide ballot during even-numbered years in Colorado. The approval rate for measures on the ballot in even-numbered years was 47.34%.



North Dakota is the fifth state with a marijuana legalization initiative certified for 2022 ballot

The North Dakota secretary of state announced on August 15, 2022, that a marijuana legalization initiative qualified for the ballot. About 23,000 signatures were deemed valid. To qualify for the ballot, 15,582 signatures needed to be valid.

The initiative, sponsored by New Approach North Dakota, would legalize marijuana for adults 21 years old and older. Individuals would be allowed to purchase, possess, transport, and distribute up to one ounce (28.35 grams) of marijuana, four grams of marijuana in a concentrated form, and 500 milligrams of marijuana in infused products. Under the initiative, individuals could possess up to three marijuana plants that are kept in a locked space in a private residence and are not visible from a public place. The smell of marijuana, the possession of marijuana, or the suspicion of possession of marijuana would not alone warrant detention, search, or arrest unless there was evidence that the quantity limitations were exceeded.

Under the measure, the Department of Health and Human Services could license up to seven cultivation facilities and 18 dispensaries.

In 2018, North Dakota voters rejected a marijuana legalization initiative backed by Legalize ND — Measure 3 — by a vote of 59.45% to 40.55%. David Owen was the primary sponsor and campaign chairman for Measure 3 as well as the 2022 initiative. Owen said, “So, the biggest difference between now and Measure 3 of 2018 … is this is restricted, regulated, controlled, legal marijuana.”

So far, 19 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized the possession and personal use of marijuana for recreational purposes. In 11 states and D.C., the ballot initiative process was used to legalize marijuana. In one state, the legislature referred a measure to the ballot for voter approval. In seven states, bills to legalize marijuana were enacted into law.

Marijuana legalization measures are certified to appear on the 2022 ballot in Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, and South Dakota. Votes on the Arkansas initiative may not be counted pending a court ruling on the initiative’s ballot language.

Since 2002, 24 citizen initiatives have been on the ballot in North Dakota. Of the 24 initiatives, 11 (46%) were approved and 13 (54%) were defeated.

Additional reading:



Arkansas marijuana legalization initiative to appear on November ballot; votes may not be counted pending state supreme court ruling

On Aug. 11, the Arkansas Supreme Court ordered the Secretary of State to certify a marijuana legalization initiative for the election on Nov. 8. Votes on the initiative may not be counted pending a court ruling on the initiative’s ballot language.

Responsible Growth Arkansas, the campaign behind the marijuana legalization initiative, submitted more than 190,000 signatures on July 8. The Arkansas secretary of state announced on July 29 that the campaign had submitted more than the required number of valid signatures (89,151) and would qualify for the ballot if the Arkansas State Board of Election Commissioners certified the ballot language.

On Aug. 3, 2022, the election commissioners declined to certify the ballot title and popular names for the initiative, stating that the language was misleading. The next day, Responsible Growth Arkansas filed a lawsuit in the state Supreme Court. The campaign said the board “[thwarted] the will of the people and their right to adopt laws by initiative.” The campaign requested an expedited review because the deadline for the secretary of state to certify measures for the 2022 ballot is August 25. On August 11, the state Supreme Court ordered the secretary of state to certify the measure for the ballot. Votes on the initiative may not be counted, however, if the supreme court rules that the ballot language is misleading. Case briefs were scheduled to be filed with the court through September 2, 2022.

The measure would legalize marijuana use for individuals 21 years of age and older and authorize the commercial sale of marijuana with a 10% sales tax. Adults could possess up to one ounce of marijuana. Under the amendment, businesses that already hold licenses under the state’s medical marijuana program would be authorized to sell marijuana for personal use. An additional 40 licenses would be given to businesses chosen by a lottery. The Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Division of the Department of Finance and Administration would regulate the program and provide for cannabis business licensing.

Marijuana legalization measures are certified to appear on the 2022 ballot in Maryland, Missouri, and South Dakota. Marijuana legalization measures could also appear on the ballot in Oklahoma and North Dakota. Currently, 19 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized the possession and personal use of marijuana for recreational purposes. Eleven states and D.C. had legalized marijuana through the ballot initiative process.

Since 2012, the Arkansas Supreme Court has invalidated nine citizen-initiated measures that had been certified for the ballot. In 2020, three citizen-initiated measures were certified for the ballot. Two were later blocked from appearing on the ballot. One appeared on the ballot, but votes for the measure were not counted or certified. In 2018, a citizen initiative was blocked from appearing on the ballot after having been certified. In 2016, three initiatives appeared on the ballot, but votes on the measures were not counted or certified. In 2012, two initiatives appeared on the ballot, but votes were not counted or certified.

From 2012 to 2018, six citizen initiatives appeared on the ballot and had votes counted and results certified. Of the six measures, four were approved (66.67%) and two (33.33%) were defeated.



Campaigns for four ballot initiatives in Colorado submitted signatures by August 8 deadline and could appear on November ballot

Campaigns for four Colorado ballot initiatives submitted signatures by the August 8 signature deadline. Three of the initiatives would change state alcohol laws, and one initiative concerns revenue for housing projects. To qualify for the ballot, sponsors of each initiative needed to submit 124,632 valid signatures.

Initiative 108 is being sponsored by Coloradans for Affordable Housing Now, which has raised $2.8 million and is supported by the National Association of Realtors, Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver, and Gary Ventures, Inc. The initiative would dedicate a percentage of federal income tax revenues, estimated at $300 million per year, to housing projects including “affordable housing financing programs that will reduce rents, purchase land for affordable housing development, build assets for renters, support affordable homeownership, serve persons experiencing homelessness, and support local planning capacity.”

Initiative 96 is being sponsored by Coloradans for Consumer Choice and Retail Fairness, which has raised $2.2 million and is supported by Colorado Fine Wines & Spirits LLC, U.S. Representative David Trone (D-Maryland), and his brother who co-owns Total Wine with him, Robert Trone, who each donated around $900,000. The initiative would incrementally increase the number of retail liquor store licenses an individual may own or hold a share in, as follows:

  1. up to eight licenses by December 31, 2026;
  2. up to 13 licenses by December 31, 2031;
  3. up to 20 licenses by December 31, 2036; and
  4. an unlimited number of licenses on or after January 1, 2037.

Currently, retailers can open a maximum of three liquor stores in Colorado.

Initiatives 121 and 122 were sponsored by Wine in Grocery Stores, which has raised $3.97 million from DoorDash and InstaCart. Initiative 121 would create a new fermented malt beverage and wine retailer license to allow grocery stores, convenience stores, and other businesses that are licensed to sell beer to also sell wine. Initiative 122 would allow retail establishments licensed to sell alcohol for off-site consumption to offer a delivery service or provide for a third-party alcohol delivery service.

Seven measures are currently certified to appear on the November ballot in Colorado.

From 1985 through 2020, an average of nine measures appeared on the statewide ballot during even-numbered years in Colorado. The approval rate for measures on the ballot in even-numbered years was 47.34%.



Arkansas Board of Election Commissioners declines to certify ballot language for initiatives to legalize marijuana and repeal Pope County’s casino authorization

On August 3, the Arkansas Board of Election Commissioners declined to certify the ballot titles and popular names for two initiatives that had submitted signatures. Fair Play for Arkansas 2022 said they were considering their options to challenge the board’s decision. Responsible Growth Arkansas said they planned to challenge the board’s decision with the Arkansas Supreme Court.

Responsible Growth Arkansas, the campaign behind the marijuana legalization initiative, submitted more than 190,000 signatures on July 8, 2022. The Arkansas Secretary of State announced on July 29 that the campaign had submitted more than the required number of valid signatures (89,151) and would qualify for the ballot if the Board of Election Commissioners certified the ballot language.

The measure would legalize marijuana use for individuals 21 years of age and older and authorize the commercial sale of marijuana with a 10% sales tax. Adults could possess up to one ounce of marijuana. Under the amendment, businesses that already hold licenses under the state’s medical marijuana program would be authorized to sell marijuana for personal use. An additional 40 licenses would be given to businesses chosen by a lottery. The Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Division of the Department of Finance and Administration would regulate the program and provide for cannabis business licensing.

Currently, 19 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized the possession and personal use of marijuana for recreational purposes. Eleven states and D.C. had legalized marijuana through the ballot initiative process.

Fair Play for Arkansas 2022 reported submitting 103,096 signatures for an initiative to repeal the casino authorization for Pope County. In 2018, voters approved Issue 4 authorizing the county to grant a casino license for one casino. Under Issue 4, the Pope County license required applicants to pay fees to apply, demonstrate experience in conducting casino gaming, or furnish a letter of support from the county judge. The Pope County license was awarded to the Cherokee Nation.

In Arkansas, a total of 44 ballot measures appeared on the statewide ballot between 2000 and 2020. Thirty-two (72.73%) ballot measures were approved, and 12 (27.27%) ballot measures were defeated.