This November, voters in five states will have the opportunity to establish either recreational or medical programs. At present, 33 states currently have medical marijuana programs and 11 states have recreational programs. Washington, D.C., also has both a medical and recreational program.
Arizona currently has a medical marijuana program with around 250,000 participants. Proposition 207, which will appear on the ballot this November, would permit adults 21 years of age and older to use recreational cannabis and would legalize possession of up to 1 ounce. Polling currently suggests that voters slightly favor legalization, representing an inversion from 2016, when a similar proposition was narrowly defeated by only 67,100 votes.
There are two competing initiatives in the state of Mississippi that would each create a medical marijuana program. Initiative 65, the less restrictive measure, would allow physicians to recommend cannabis as a treatment for 22 qualifying conditions. Initiative 65A would require medicinal cannabis products to be pharmaceutical quality, prohibit the smoking of cannabis to all but terminally ill patients, and leave the creation of a regulatory framework up to the legislature. Pro-cannabis activists contend that Initiative 65A was created to confuse voters, split the vote, and create a less robust program.
Polling indicates that medical marijuana has a strong appeal, with 80 percent of Mississippians being in favor of creating a medical marijuana program.
Medical marijuana is currently legal in Montana. On the ballot this year are two measures that concern recreational use. The first, Initiative No. 190, would legalize recreational use. The second, Initiative No. 118, will establish that only adults who are 21 years of age or older can possess or consume it. Polling suggests that 54 percent of Montanans favor legalization.
Though New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is publicly in favor of lifting prohibitions on the recreational use of cannabis, his administration has been unable to pass legislation that would accomplish this feat. This November, Public Question 1 will ask voters if they believe the state constitution should be amended to allow adults 21 years of age or older to use cannabis.
South Dakota is putting two measures on the ballot this November. Measure 26 will establish a medical marijuana program. Amendment A will legalize adult-use cannabis. Though the South Dakota’s Republican governor and legislature have been clearly opposed to any form of cannabis use in the state and have often framed cannabis use as a partisan issue (where Republicans oppose and Democrats support), polling suggests that voters in South Dakotans do not share this view. Many pro-cannabis activists believe that this is a cause for optimism.