This November, when voters poll their ballots, they will be deciding on much more than Congress members, U.S. senators, governors, and other elected officials. At least seven states confirm that they will have marijuana legalization as a question on their ballot initiatives this year, with many other states voting on other pot measures. Some are complex, some are simple, but all are moving toward freedom.
Some states are asking voters for full legalization. Others want to know if they want medical weed. At least one wants to clearly define and clarify the laws around hemp. Some measures are statewide; others are local. Some require constitutional change, others only statutory amendments. Moreover, some questions are binding, others merely advisory for elected officials to ponder seriously.
Huge Legalization Push Next Month
Overall, next month’s ballot will include 36 different and major measures for marijuana reform that span seven states include many proposals to tax, and license cannabis legally. This may well prove the biggest push for legalization in the history of the United States. Times are exciting indeed. Campaigns for and against these measures are all over email and social media, even robocalls, and TV ads.
However, despite this, polls suggest that a notable proportion of voters will only make up their minds once they have their ballots in their hands, no matter how far and wide campaigners work to promote their ballot initiatives. Few worry about the issues of the day. For them, and anyone else wanting to know, these are the questions voters will see when they head to the ballot this November:
Colorado voters have a simple question to answer. Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution concerning changing the industrial hemp definition from a constitutional definition to a statutory definition?
Voters in Michigan will decide if they want to authorize and legalize the possession, consumption, and cultivation of cannabis products by legal adults, who are individuals aged 21-years and older, as well as if they want to give control of commercial pot sales to state-licensed retailers. The proposal wants:
- Legal adults to buy, possess and consume cannabis and cannabis-infused products for recreational use, as well as grow as much as 12 cannabis plants in the privacy of home.
- Impose a 10-ounce possession limit at home and require lockable containers for any quantity exceeding 2.5 ounces.
- Create a statewide licensing system for cannabusinesses and give municipalities authority to prohibit or limit them.
- Allow legal sales of cannabis and edibles, subject to a tax of 10 percent to pay for costs of implementation, clinical trials, roads, schools, and municipalities where cannabusinesses operate.
- Reform several existing violations from criminal offenses to civil violations.
For voters in Michigan, should the state adopt this proposal?
According to Measure 3, which seeks to legalize marijuana, “This initiated measure would amend the North Dakota Century Code by removing hashish, marijuana, and tetrahydrocannabinol from the list of Schedule I controlled substances in section 19-03.1-05.” In essence, this would decriminalize marijuana effectively. Ultimately, it would create chapters 66-01.
Chapters 66-01 would specifically define marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia. It would also protect anyone 21-years or older from prosecution if caught with drug equipment, growing, manufacturing, distributing, selling, testing, or otherwise engaging in non-violent cannabis activities, except the selling of weed to minors.
Furthermore, any language in the Century Code found to conflict with chapters 66-01, including those prosecution bans, is repealed and nullified. Moreover, the measure adds penalties for minors found in possession of or trying to distribute, cannabis, as well as those who distribute to them. It would amend the definition of drug paraphernalia to exclude those obviously for marijuana.
That is not all. If North Dakota votes yes, the measure would expunge the criminal records of those convicted for marijuana, as well as create an appeals process for anyone questioning expungement and eliminate sovereign immunity of the state for damages caused by expungement lawsuits. A yes vote would approve all of the above in a single measure.
Missouri is putting three questions pertaining to cannabis on its ballot this year. Amendment 2 proposes to permit marijuana use for medical reasons and draft licensing certification, and regulation requirements for cannabis facilities. It also proposes a four percent tax on pot sales to fund the Missouri Veterans Commission to provide health care services to military veterans, as well as to implement a system that oversees a medical marijuana program. It will likely generate upwards of $20 million.
Amendment 3 would change the Missouri Constitution to legalize medical marijuana and draft programs to license and regulate a legal marketplace for it. It would also impose a 15 percent tax on retail sales, as well as a tax on wholesale leaves and flowers per dry-weight ounce. This would fund state research into finding cures and treatments for incurable diseases. It could easily generate $66 million for state coffers.
Proposition C attempts to change Missouri law to remove restrictions on personal possession and use of medical weed, provided patients have legitimate qualifying conditions and genuine written certification from a licensed physician. It would license and regulate weed businesses, as well as remove prohibitions for owners and employees. Tax would be two percent for veterans, education, and other programs.
Utah voters will decide whether to enact a law that would establish a process, controlled by the state, to allow those with specific medical conditions to access and consume medical marijuana. Additionally, in some circumstances, it would allow patients to grow up to six cannabis plants for their own use. The initiative would set up facilities to grow, process, sell, or test medical pot.
The measure would require all these facilities to have state-issued operating licenses, and it will impose state controls onto them, such as mandating the installation of electronic programs to track all inventory and sales, as well as compliance with packaging limitations, advertising restrictions, and types of products available. It would legalize medical weed but under heavy supervision.
With more and more states putting the question to ballot each election, legalization is spreading fast. This year, voters already in states with liberal pot laws will vote on local measures, such as tax rates and operating zones. The list of such measures is lengthy, but you can visit your state’s election website to sample your ballot before heading off to the polls.