This November, cannabis users and activists will have a chance to make a difference when it comes to legalization in their state. As of right now, five states have measures on their voting ballots that are being put to popular vote. Two states are looking to legalize adult use, another two are looking to begin a medical marijuana program, and lastly, one has an amendment to the definition of ‘industrial hemp’ on the table.
North Dakota – Looking to legalize: Adult Use
“The measure legalizes the use, sale, possession, and distribution of marijuana for anyone 21 years or older. For anyone under the age of 21, the law creates a new specific subset of non-felony penalties. Additionally, the law legalizes “paraphernalia” for marijuana exclusively. Finally, records are expunged for anyone that followed the new law even if it occurred in the past, except for cases of someone being under the age of 21.”
Vote YES: to legalize adult-use marijuana and create expungement process for those with convictions.
Vote NO: to oppose the measure.
Michigan – Looking to Legalize: Adult Use
“The purpose of this act is to make marihuana legal under state and local law for adults 21 years of age or older, to make industrial hemp legal under state and local law, and to control the commercial production and distribution of marihuana under a system that licenses, regulates, and taxes the businesses involved. The intent is to prevent arrest and penalty for personal possession and cultivation of marihuana by adults 21 years of age or older…”
Vote YES: to legalize adult-use and enact a tax on marijuana sales
Vote NO: to oppose the measure
Utah – Looking to Legalize: Medical
- HIV, acquired immune deficiency syndrome or an autoimmune disorder
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Cancer, cachexia, or a condition manifest by physical wasting, nausea, or malnutrition associated with chronic disease
- Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or a similar gastrointestinal disorder
- Epilepsy or a similar condition that causes debilitating seizures
- Multiple sclerosis (MS) or a similar condition that causes persistent and debilitating muscle spasms
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- A rare condition or disease that affects less than 200,000 persons in the United States
- Chronic or debilitating pain
Vote YES: to legalize medical marijuana for qualifying conditions
Vote NO: to oppose the proposition
Missouri – Looking to Legalize: Medical
Missouri’s ballot carries two amendments as well as a proposition this year. Voters may cast in favor for as many or as few as they like, this leads to two different outcomes: either the vote is too split between them and none of them pass, or if votes are cast equally enough in favor of all three then the courts will need to decide what ultimately will become the law.
Amendment 2: “Instead of creating a short and restrictive list of qualifying conditions, this initiative puts power in the hands of a state-licensed physicians, not politicians or bureaucrats, to determine who will benefit from medical cannabis.”
Tax rate: 4%
Tax revenue spent on: healthcare services for veterans
Amendment 3: “The Article XIV allows patients with qualifying medical conditions the right to discuss freely with their physicians the possible benefits of medical marijuana use, the right of their physicians to provide professional advice concerning the same, and the right to use medical marijuana for treatment under the supervision of a physician.”
Tax rate: 15%
Tax revenue spent on: Biomedical Research and Drug Development Institute
Proposition C: “…to permit state-licenses physicians to certify that a patient has a qualifying medical condition and that the physician is treating or managing treatment of the patient’s qualifying medical condition in the course of a bona fide physician-patient relationship, after the physician has completed an assessment of the qualifying [patient’s medical history, reviewed relevant records related to the patient’s qualifying medical condition, and conducted a physical examination.”
Tax rate: 2%
Tax revenue spent on: veteran’s services, drug treatment, education, and law enforcement.
Colorado – Looking to: Amend State Constitution
” …federal law is expected to change to permit more hemp cultivation and having the definition of industrial hemp in the state’s constitution prevents the legislature from adapting state laws in accordance with changes at the federal level. This amendment was designed to provide the state legislature with more flexibility in regulating industrial hemp.”
Vote YES: to remove the definition from the state constitution and follow federal law definitions
Vote NO: to keep the definition in the state constitution
Looking to the future: Mississippi
In 2020 Mississippi is looking to have a measure on their voting ballot as well, they are in the process of gathering signatures in order to introduce an amendment to the state constitution. It would legalize medical marijuana, as well as allow caregivers to obtain and provide the medication to patients that would be otherwise unable to access the medicine.
“The ability of those persons to obtain medical marijuana is built around an examination by a Mississippi physician, a diagnosis of a debilitating medical condition, and a certification by the physician that medical marijuana may be used. Medical marijuana is then obtained from a licensed and regulated treatment center that is both limited by amount and by time period. The initiative creates the position of caregivers who can assist disabled or home-bound patients.”
Keep an eye out for more as election season progresses! These current ballot measures could inspire other states to take steps toward legalization!
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