Voters in several states are anticipated to decide on marijuana-related ballot measures in November. Here is where those efforts stand…
The group Arkansans for Compassionate Care has withdrawn its 2022 ballot initiative effort. The group says that it intends to refile for the 2024 ballot.
A second statewide group, Arkansans for Marijuana Reform, is seeking to place a constitutional amendment on the November ballot. It aims to allow adults 21 and older to possess up to four ounces of cannabis flower, two ounces of concentrates, and cultivate up to six mature marijuana plants and six seedlings for personal use.
Another activist group, Arkansas True Grass, is also gathering signatures for a 2022 ballot initiative measure. Their proposal seeks to create a system of regulated sales for adults 21 and older. Adults would be permitted to purchase up to four ounces of cannabis from licensed retailers and they would be allowed to grow up to 12 plants for their own personal use. (View signature locations.)
Lawmakers last week gave final approval to the proposed Constitutional Amendment, House Bill 1, which asks voters: “Do you favor the legalization of adult–use cannabis in the State of Maryland?” Recent statewide polls find that between 62 and 70 percent of Marylanders support legalizing cannabis.
State lawmakers have also approved complementary legislation, HB 837, which defines marijuana possession limits and facilitates the automatic review and expungement of past criminal records. That bill awaits approval from Republican Gov. Larry Hogan.
If approved by voters, the referendum takes effect on July 1, 2023. At that time, adults will be legally permitted to possess up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis and/or 12 grams of cannabis concentrates. Possessing amounts between 1.5 ounces and 2.5 ounces would be subject to civil fines, while the possession of greater quantities would be subject to existing criminal penalties.
Lawmakers would still need to enact additional legislation next session to establish rules and regulations governing a legally regulated cannabis marketplace.
A citizens initiative sponsored by the group Legal Missouri 2022 seeks to allow those 21 years and older to possess, purchase, consume, and cultivate marijuana while allowing those with nonviolent marijuana-related offenses to automatically have their criminal records expunged.
The proposed measure also seeks to broaden industry participation by small business owners and among disadvantaged populations, including those with limited capital, residents of high-poverty communities, service-disabled veterans, and those who have been previously convicted of nonviolent marijuana offenses. Additionally, the initiative makes some improvements to the state’s existing medical marijuana access program.
A separate effort from state lawmakers, HJR 83, also seeks to put the legalization issue before voters. This resolution was heard by members of House Special Committee on Criminal Justice on April 5th and is awaiting a vote.
Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana (NMM) has issued an urgent plea for volunteers and donors as the result of “a personal and tragic circumstance” which has left a “committed donor” no longer able to fund the petition drive this year. The group is seeking to place two separate measures on the 2022 ballot: 1.) The Medical Cannabis Patient Protection Act, which protects patients with serious health conditions and their caregivers from arrest, and 2.) The Medical Cannabis Commission Act, which regulates private businesses to provide medical cannabis to qualified patients.
“Our campaign has an incredible amount of grassroots support,” said State Sen. Adam Morfeld (D) of Lincoln, a leader of the petition drive. “We have hundreds of well-organized volunteers who are out gathering signatures, and more supporters sign up to help every day.”
Advocates with the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol have collected a sufficient number of signatures from registered voters to place a marijuana legalization measure before lawmakers. The citizens’ initiated measure allows for the possession of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana or 15 grams of marijuana extract by those age 21 or older. Adult Ohioans could purchase marijuana at retail locations or grow up to 12 plants in a private residence (where at least two adults reside). Retail cannabis products would be taxed at 10 percent. Municipalities can opt out of allowing retail sales if a majority of elected officials decide in favor of an ordinance to do so.
Although state lawmakers have the option to act on the petition, legislative leadership indicates that they do not intend to do so. If they don’t act, the group can gather another 132,877 legal petition signatures to take it to the November ballot.
There are three ballot initiative efforts regarding cannabis pending in Oklahoma. At one point, all three groups were responding to legal challenges, which paused their signature collection efforts. On April 4th, the court decided the language for SQ 820 is “constitutionally sufficient.”
Oklahomans for Responsible Cannabis Action (ORCA) is seeking to place two initiatives on the ballot this fall.
- SQ 818, the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Enforcement and Anti-Corruption Act, seeks to expand and revise the state’s medical cannabis program.
- SQ 819, the Oklahoma Marijuana Regulation and Right to Use Act, legalizes the possession of up to eight ounces of marijuana for those aged 21 and older. Adults may either purchase cannabis from state-licensed retailers or home cultivate up to 12 plants of cannabis. (Those who grow at home may legally possess the total yield of their plants).
A third effort, SQ 820, sponsored by New Approach PAC, allows adults 21 and older to purchase and possess up to one ounce of cannabis and grow up to six mature plants and six seedlings for personal use. The measure also provides pathways for the resentencing and/or expunging of criminal records. Because SQ 820 does not alter the Oklahoma Constitution, fewer signatures are needed to place the measure on the November ballot
After the Supreme Court nullified the result of a 2020 statewide vote legalizing the use of cannabis, South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws (SDBML) have amended their language and are seeking to pass a new 2022 legalization initiative. The deadline to collect and submit signatures for verification is May 3, 2022. Matthew Schweich, SDML campaign director, recently said that the group is “closing in on 20,000 signatures” and he has “no doubts” that organizers will collect enough signatures before the May 3 deadline.
While Wyoming activists made significant progress in collecting signatures, they didn’t reach their goal to qualify for the 2022 ballot deadline. They are now aiming for 2024 while pushing the legislature to advance legislative reforms in the interim.
Bennett Sondeno of Wyoming NORML says, “We are gearing up for an active signature gathering season by raising funds to ensure we have a crew of paid petitioners to help us through the summer months and assure our numbers are reached by the end of summer.”
Interested parties can follow the progress of Wyoming NORML on Facebook or their website.