A Look at Six States That Could Pass Marijuana Initiatives This Year

By Phillip Smith, StoptheDrugWar.org

While marijuana reform efforts continue at an excruciatingly slow pace in state legislatures — Vermont became the first state to free the weed at the statehouse just last month — the initiative and referendum process continues to serve as a direct popular vote alternative to the crap shoot that is trying to get a pot bill through two houses and signed by a governor.

There are at least six states with a serious shot at legalizing either recreational marijuana or medical marijuana via the initiative process this year. In one state, a medical marijuana initiative has already qualified for the ballot; in another, plentiful signatures have already been handed in for a legalization initiative; in three others, signature gathering campaigns are well underway; while in the last, a legalization initiative hasn’t been officially filed yet, but already has serious financial backing.

By the time we get past election day, we should be looking at a legalization victory in at least one more state and medical marijuana victories damned near anywhere an initiative manages to get on the ballot. In the last election cycle, marijuana reform initiatives won in eight out of nine contests.

Here are the 2018 contenders:

1. Michigan — Legalization

The Michigan Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has already completed a petition campaign and handed in more than 365,000 raw signatures in November for its legalization initiative. It hasn’t officially qualified for the ballot yet, but it only needs 250,000 valid voter signatures to do so, meaning it has a rather substantial cushion. If the measure makes the ballot, it should win. There is the little matter of actually campaigning to pass the initiative, which should require a million or two dollars for TV ad buys and other get-out-the-vote efforts, but with the Marijuana Policy Project on board and some deep-pocketed local interests as well, the money should be there. The voters already are there: Polling has shown majority support for legalization for several years now, always trending up, and most recently hitting 58% in a May Marketing Resource Group poll.

2. Missouri — Medical

New Approach Missouri’s Right to Medical Marijuana initiative would legalize the use of medical marijuana for specified medical conditions and create a system of taxed and regulated medical marijuana cultivation, distribution, and sales. The campaign is well into its signature gathering phase and reported this week that it already has 175,000 raw signatures. It only needs 160,000 verified valid voter signatures, but has set a goal of 280,000 raw signatures to provide a comfortable cushion. Signature gathering doesn’t end until May 6. There is no recent state polling on the issue, but medical marijuana typically polls above 80% nationally.

3. New Mexico — Legalization

The Land of Enchantment has a unique path to a popular vote on marijuana legalization: A measure before the legislature, Senate Joint Resolution 4, would, if approved, take the issue directly to the voters in November. New Mexicans would vote on a constitutional amendment to legalize weed, and if they approved it, the legislature would meet next year to promulgate rules and regulations. The measure passed one Senate committee on Friday, but still faces another Senate committee vote, a Senate floor vote, and action in the House, and the clock is ticking. Supporters have only about two weeks to move this bill before the session ends. If it can get before the voters, it could win: A poll last week had support at 61%.

4. Ohio — Legalization

Responsible Ohio tried to legalize marijuana in 2015 via a “pay to play” initiative that would have created a growers’ oligopoly limited to cash-heavy early supporters who financed the entire campaign. Ohio voters didn’t buy that, so some of the players are back again with what they’re calling the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Amendment. It hasn’t been officially filed yet, but would reportedly have a “free market” approach to a system of taxed and regulated cultivation, distribution, and sales, and it would allow for personal cultivation. Organizers say they have $3 million already for signature gathering and campaigning. They will need 305,592 valid voter signatures and they have a goal of July 4 for getting them.

5. Oklahoma — Medical

The Oklahoma medical marijuana initiative, State Question 788, has already qualified for the ballot and will go before the voters during the June 26 primary election. The initiative legalizes the use, cultivation, and distribution of medical marijuana to qualified patients. A January Sooner poll had support at 62%, a fairly low level of support for medical marijuana, which typically polls above 80% nationwide. But this is Oklahoma.

6. Utah — Medical

The Utah Medical Cannabis Act would allow patients with certain qualifying conditions to use medical marijuana. It limits the numbers of dispensaries and growers, and patients could only grow their own if they reside more than 100 miles from the nearest dispensary. Patients could not smoke their medicine, but they could vaporize it. The Utah Patients Coalition is currently in the midst of its signature gathering campaign. It needs 113,000 verified voter signatures by April 15, and it has the money in the bank, including $100,000 from the Marijuana Policy Project, to get it done. A series of polls last year had support levels ranging from 69% to 78%.

Successful Maine Legalization Initiative is Most Progressive in the Country

In yesterday’s election eight out of nine statewide cannabis initiatives came out victorious. Among them, Maine’s Question 1 stands out as being the most progressive.

ProgressivePrior to this election four states legalized cannabis, all of them with a one ounce limit. Yesterday’s successful initiatives in California, Massachusetts and Nevada adopted this same limit. Maine, however, allows for the possession of 250% this amount; 2.5 ounces. This clearly demonstrates that voters – at least in some states – are willing to accept a limit higher than one ounce.

Read moreSuccessful Maine Legalization Initiative is Most Progressive in the Country

Just 3 Weeks Until These 5 States Vote to Legalize Cannabis

5 States VoteWe are now just three weeks and two days away from the November 8th election. During this election, five states will be voting on the legalization of cannabis for recreational use. Three additional states (Florida, Arkansas and North Dakota) are voting on medical cannabis legalization.

Below is a short summary of all five recreational legalization initiatives:

Cannabis Legalization Initiatives:

  • Nevada: If passed into law, Question 2 would legalize the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis. The personal cultivation of up to six plants, and state-licensed cannabis retail outlets, would also be allowed. Question 2 is the first among these batch of initiatives to officially make the ballot.
  • Arizona: The fact that legalization is up for a vote in Arizona is one of the more surprising things about this election. Similar to Nevada’s Question 2, Initiative 5 would legalize the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis, the personal cultivation of up to six cannabis plants, and cannabis retail outlets, for those 21 and older.

Read moreJust 3 Weeks Until These 5 States Vote to Legalize Cannabis

Medical and Recreational Cannabis Legalization Up for Vote in 9 States – Here’s How You Can Help

brightbudsThere are eight states with cannabis legalization initiatives up for a vote this November (and one up for a vote either in 2018, or in a special election next year); five that would legalize cannabis for all uses – for those 21 and older – and four that would legalize medical cannabis. With the election just a month away, it’s vital for proponents of cannabis law reform to get involved in helping these initiatives get passed into law.

Below are details about how you can get involved – both in terms of donating money, and donating time – in all nine of these efforts:

Read moreMedical and Recreational Cannabis Legalization Up for Vote in 9 States – Here’s How You Can Help

Recent Polling for All Five Statewide Cannabis Legalization Initiatives

By Paul Armentano, NORML

cannabis legalization initiativesVoters favor legalizing the adult use of cannabis in the five states where the issue will appear on the ballot this Election Day. Here is a summary of the latest polling data.

ARIZONA: Half of Arizona voters intend to vote ‘yes’ in favor of Proposition 205: The Arizona Legalization and Regulation of Marijuana Act, according to an Arizona Republic/Morrison/Cronkite News poll. Forty percent of voters oppose the initiative. The Act allows adults age 21 and older to possess and to privately consume and grow limited amounts of marijuana (up to one ounce of marijuana flower, up to five grams of marijuana concentrate, and/or the harvest from up to six plants) and provides regulations for a retail cannabis marketplace.

CALIFORNIA: Numerous polls show strong support among Californians for Proposition 64: The Adult Use of Marijuana Act. In recent weeks, polling data compiled by the Public Policy Institute of California and the California Field Poll show the measure leading among voters by some 30 percentage points. Proposition 64 permits adults to legally grow (up to six plants) and possess personal use quantities of cannabis (up to one ounce of flower and/or up to eight grams of concentrate) while also licensing commercial cannabis production and retail sales. The measure prohibits localities from taking actions to infringe upon adults’ ability to possess and cultivate cannabis for non-commercial purposes. The initiative language specifies that it is not intended to “repeal, affect, restrict, or preempt … laws pertaining to the Compassionate Use Act of 1996.”

MAINE: Fifty-three percent of voters support Question 1: The Marijuana Legalization Act, according to a September UNH Survey Center poll. Only 38 percent of respondents oppose it. The Act authorizes adults to obtain up to two and one-half ounces of cannabis from licensed facilities. Adults can also cultivate up to six plants and possess the harvest from those plants.

MASSACHUSETTS: Voters back Question 4: The Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act by a margin of 53 percent to 40 percent, according to polling data released last week by WBZ-TV. The ballot measure permits adults to possess up to 10 ounces of cannabis and to grow up to six plants for non-commercial purposes. The measure also establishes regulations overseeing the commercial production and sale of the plant.

NEVADA: Question 2: The Nevada Marijuana Legalization Initiative leads among Nevada voters by a margin of 57 percent to 33 percent, according to Suffolk University polling data released last week. The initiative states, “The People of the State of Nevada find and declare that the use of marijuana should be legal for persons 21 years of age or older, and its cultivation and sale should be regulated similar to other businesses.”

For more information about these and other pending ballot initiatives, please see NORML’s Election 2016 page here.

Marijuana Legalization Votes this November

By Robert Bergman, ILoveGrowingMarijuana,com

While everyone is focused on the hype of the presidential election, the rest of us are waiting with baited breath for November 8th to see which states will take the step to legalize recreational or medical marijuana. There are a number of states that have marijuana legalization measures being voted on this November, as well as medical marijuana programs. Let’s look at the ballots we can look forward to.

Arizona votes for recreational use

Arizona votes cannabis laws november 2016
Arizona is going to vote for Proposition 205, which, if passed, would legalize the use and sale of recreational marijuana for those 21 and up. Legal-aged recreational users could possess up to an ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants in their private residence. Marijuana sales would be taxed 15% and a new department, called the Department of Marijuana Licenses and Control, would be established.

The restrictions that come with Proposition 205 would include not being allowed to smoke or use marijuana in a public setting, prohibition on the use of it by those under the age of 21, and not being allowed to possess more than an ounce. Breaking these rules would result in a $300 fine and community service. Support Arizona with the legalization of recreational marijuana and vote yes at this link here.


Arkansas hesitates; medical or home grown

Arkansas votes cannabis laws november 2016
Arkansas has two initiatives on the line, but only one will be chosen. Both have to do with medical marijuana, and the one with the most votes (assuming they both are voted “yes” by a majority of the state’s voters) would be the one put into action.

The Medical Marijuana Amendment would not allow any home cultivation of the plant, while the Medical Cannabis Act would allow registered patients to grow. The Medical Cannabis Act would have all the tax revenue go back into the medical marijuana program, while the Medical Marijuana Act would divide it up among a variety of state funds. The Arkansas Department of Health would handle the rules and regulations in both cases, but for the Medical Marijuana Amendment, there would also be a Medical Marijuana Commission created.  Vote yes n the Medical Cannabis act so patients can grow their own marijuana at home. Vote at this link here.


California legalizes recreational marijuana

California votes cannabis laws november 2016
Also known as the “Adult Use of Marijuana Act,” the California Marijuana Legalization Initiative is trying to legalize recreational marijuana in the state of California. At the moment, only medical marijuana is legal. This law, if passed, would establish a 15 percent sales tax and would also tax people who are cultivating their own marijuana. Support the Adult Use of Marijuana act at this link here.


Florida votes for medical marijuana

Florida votes cannabis laws november 2016
Florida has an initiated constitutional amendment on their ballot, called Amendment 2 or the Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative that would legalize medical marijuana for people who have qualifying medical conditions. These conditions include cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, PTSD, ALS, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis. It needs a whopping 60 percent of the vote to win because it’s a constitutional amendment. Florida currently only has a CBD law in place, meaning there is some access to low-THC marijuana in non-smokable form. Support  Amendment 2 at this link here.


Maine might legalize recreational use

Maine votes cannabis laws november 2016
“Question 1,” officially called the Maine Marijuana Legalization Measure will be included on Maine’s ballot as an indirect initiated state statute. This one has everything to do with recreational marijuana. If the “yes” vote wins, adults age 21 and up will be allowed to consume and possess marijuana in Maine, and certain regulations and taxes will apply to those looking to grow their own marijuana. Support Maine at this link here.


Massachusetts citizens can grow marijuana

Massachusetts votes cannabis laws november 2016
Massachusetts’ Question 4 will ask voters whether they want its law to look upon marijuana in a similar way to how it looks on alcohol. At the moment, only medical marijuana is allowed in Massachusetts. With a “yes” vote, people over the age of 21 will be allowed to possess, use, and grow marijuana — this means one ounce in public, and ten ounces in their private residence will be allowed. Six plants can be grown at a time as well. A tax would be added to retail marijuana, and the revenue would go back into the Marijuana Regulation Fund. Vote yes at this link to support Massachusetts.


Montana finally legalizes medical marijuana

Montana votes cannabis laws november 2016
Montana’s voters actually approved the Medical Marijuana Act I-148 in 2004, but it was repealed seven years later by the Montana State Legislature. This new vote, the Medical Marijuana Initiative I-182, would amend the 2011 decision and would also repeal the three-patient limit that currently exists for marijuana providers. Support Montana at this link.


Nevada votes for recreational use

Nevada votes cannabis laws november 2016
Nevada is looking to legalize recreational marijuana this November with their initiative known as Question 2. If voters vote for it, Nevadans will be allowed to have up to an ounce of marijuana for recreational use (as long as they are at least 21 years old). The revenue that taxes bring in will go to elementary education in Nevada. Vote yes and support Nevada at this link here.


North Dakota and medical marijuana

North dakota votes cannabis laws 2016
North Dakota’s Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative (“Initiated Statutory Measure 5”) will allow the use of medical marijuana for the treatment of cancer, AIDS, hepatitis C, ALS, glaucoma, and epilepsy, among others. It will also pave the way for the state to define regulations regarding cultivation, dispensation, and use of medical marijuana in general. Patients would require a special identification card with their details to receive and use medical marijuana. Help North Dakota legalize medical marijuana by clicking this link.

Just 50 Days Before 9 States Votes to Legalize Recreational or Medical Cannabis

Legalize RecreationalThe 2016 election, which will be held on November 8th, is now just 50 days away. Five states – 10% of the entire country – will be voting on whether or not to legalize cannabis for everyone 21 and older, while four additional states will be voting on the legalization of medical cannabis.

For those wanting to know more information about each state’s proposals, here is a short breakdown:

States Voting for Recreational Legalization:

Read moreJust 50 Days Before 9 States Votes to Legalize Recreational or Medical Cannabis

All Eyes on Nevada, Massachusetts, California, Maine and Arizona

thcannabisIt’s just 11 weeks until election day 2016, which will be by far the most monumental day for cannabis law reform since the beginning of prohibition of in the 1930s. Five state – Nevada, Massachusetts, California, Maine and Arizona – will be voting on the legalization of recreational cannabis, and all eyes are on them for big victories this November.

In Nevada, Question 2 would legalize the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis, the personal cultivation of up to six plants, and would authorize state-licensed cannabis retail outlets. Polling released last month found that 50% of voters in the state support legalization, with just 41% opposed, indicating it will be a close race, though there’s reason to be optimistic (the campaign in support of Question 2 also just purchased nearly a million dollars in television ads to promote the measure).

Read moreAll Eyes on Nevada, Massachusetts, California, Maine and Arizona

10% of Entire United States Voting for Cannabis Legalization this November

legalizemeyoIn just two and a half months, five states – 10% of the entire U.S. – will be voting to legalize recreational cannabis for everyone 21 and older. An additional four states will be voting for legalizing medical cannabis, making almost 20% of the U.S. voting on some for of cannabis legalization.

Having five states vote for legalization in one election is a huge deal, considering it’s taken over 70 years to get where we are now; four states with legal cannabis. Below is a breakdown of the recreational legalization measures being voted on this November 8th (less than three months):

Read more10% of Entire United States Voting for Cannabis Legalization this November