There are millions of voters in four different states who are going to decide whether to legalize marijuana or expand access to legal marijuana on this upcoming election day. By the time the polls close on Tuesday night, two more states could potentially have passed fully legal recreational marijuana.
This means that voters in those states are completely rejecting the failed ideology of prohibition and will allow all adults over a certain age to consume marijuana legally. Another two states will decide whether to legalize medical marijuana, which allows adults with certain medical conditions to consume marijuana legally with a doctor’s recommendation.
It’s almost a cliche at this point but this election is being proclaimed by many legalization supporters as the most important election in history. Many believe that this election day could be the point of no return for cannabis. If all or most of the states in this list pass the ballot measures, the momentum behind the marijuana legalization movement would be virtually unstoppable.
“Clearly the national momentum is on our side and we see that in national polls, but national polls don’t dictate state-level results,” said Matthew Schweich, deputy-director of the pro-legalization Marijuana Policy Project. “We still have a fight on our hands in every single state where we’re trying to legalize.”
A handful of states (such as our home state of Nevada) have passed recreational marijuana laws in recent years. Many believe that the overwhelming success of those states’ regulated marketplaces serve as a repudiation of some of the most ridiculous arguments from prohibition supporters. The hysterical claims of “reefer madness” seem almost quaint at this point, having already passed the point of absurdity years ago.
These are the states that will vote on cannabis this Tuesday. Check back often as we will keep this post updated as the results roll in.
This year’s marijuana ballot measures
Voters in North Dakota will consider Question 3, which will fully legalize recreational marijuana. The interesting thing about this measure is that it will also expunge many marijuana-related convictions.
Unlike every other state that has legalized recreational pot, North Dakota’s ballot measure will not create a system to tax and regulate the sale of the plant. Instead, the ballot measure allows residents to grow an unlimited amount of cannabis and then sell it tax-free. Every other state that has legalized recreational weed has created a strict system to tax and regulate the product, with severe restrictions on who is allowed to sell it. They also have tight restrictions on the amount that people can buy.
Question 3 also repeals any state laws regarding marijuana that may already be on the books. Prohibition supporters have seized on this with hysterical worries about indoor smoking and driving under the influence.
North Dakota voters passed a ballot measure legalizing medical marijuana two years ago. It just took effect one week ago, however. Most advocates for legalization have been frustrated with the slow pace of implementation. This new ballot measure preempts that concern by requiring that the new laws be implemented within 30 days.
“It’s a wide-open, no-holds-barred, no-limits on anything, no-oversight, poorly written measure,” said Norm Robinson, campaign manager for North Dakotans Against the Legalization of Recreational Marijuana.
Supporters are extremely confident that the measure will pass. In fact, defense attorneys who are representing clients accused of marijuana crimes are asking judges to postpone sentencing since their clients will have their records expunged in 30 days.
Voters are gearing up to vote on one of the most contentious ballot measures of this year’s election season in Utah. Prop 2 has seen a massive battle between the pro-legalization Utah Patients Coalition and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (aka Mormons), who are prohibition supporters.
The polls among likely voters showed strong support for the ballot measure just a few short weeks ago. But ever since the Mormon church, which is extremely powerful in Utah, formally opposed the measure support has began to decline. Prohibition supporters have been running a last minute blitz of ads in the state, and recent polls are showing that it may be having an effect.
Fortunately, pro-legalization and anti-legalization groups have reached a compromise that will allow medical marijuana to become legal in the state, regardless of whether Prop 2 passes this Tuesday.
Utah is an interesting state to watch this year, since over 60% of the state’s residents are members of the LDS church. Members of the church abstain from alcohol, coffee, tea, and illegal drugs. They also wear magic underwear and completely control the state of Utah.
Prop 18-1 would legalize weed for all adults aged 21 and over. This ballot measure would allow the sale of flower, edibles, and concentrates; as well as allowing residents to grow up to 12 plants for personal consumption. The measure will allow residents to possess up to 10 ounces of flower. Unfortunately, it will allow local municipalities to opt out of the law. It will also impose a 10% tax on the sale of cannabis; with proceeds used to support schools, roads, and more.
The MI Legalize 2018 campaign is the largest group supporting the legalization movement in Michigan. The group is also supporter by some heavyweights in the marijuana reform movement: The ACLU, Marijuana Policy Project, NORML, the Drug Policy Alliance; and other powerful groups. There is very little opposition to this ballot measure.
Ok, this is where it gets weird. Voters in Missouri will be voting on three different ballot measures on Tuesday.
Amendment 2: This measure would amend the Missouri Constitution to legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis for medical use only. It would do the following if it passes:
- Tax sales at 4%
- Use tax revenue to provide healthcare to veterans as well as to administer the state’s cannabis program
- It would also allow residents to grow their own marijuana for personal consumption
Amendment 3: This is another measure that would amend the state Constitution legalize, tax, and regulate medical marijuana. Here’s what this measure would do:
- Tax sales at 15%
- Use tax revenue to fund a cancer research institute
- Residents would not be allowed to grow their own plants
- The author of the amendment, Brad Bradshaw, would chair the cancer research institute
Proposition C: This is another law that would allow the sale and use of medical marijuana. This is what the law would accomplish:
- Tax sales at 2%
- Create regulations and licensing facilities for medical marijuana facilities
- Residents would not be allowed to grow their own weed
- Tax revenue would be used for veteran services, early childhood education, drug treatment, and public safety.
These three weird ballot measures obviously can’t all pass simultaneously. If more than one passes, the one with the most votes will become law.
Are there any other marijuana measures on the ballot this year?
There are a few local or county-wide ballot measures that are designed to expand access to marijuana. Ohio is voting on a measure to reduce the penalties for marijuana possession. Wisconsin has several county-level ballot measures legalizing marijuana. Wisconsin does not allow for state-level ballot measures, so legalization supporters are waging a county-by-county battle in an attempt to persuade the legislature to end prohibition. California has over one hundred different local ballot measures relating to marijuana, with most regarding taxation or whether to allow facilities in their city.
Are you voting for legal weed this year?