Five states voted on legal weed this November, but only two states join the ranks of legal weed states this year. As we close out 2022, the United States is now home to 21 states with legalized recreational cannabis, plus our nation’s capital in Washington, D.C. Here’s who won, who lost, and what provisions were included in the states’ ballot measures.
Arkansas voters rejected Issue 4, which would have allowed adults to purchase and possess up to one ounce of marijuana from licensed dispensaries. The measure did not include any statements regarding the expungement of criminal records for prior marijuana-related convictions or allow for home cultivation. It also would have implemented a 10% sales tax, with the funds going toward law enforcement and operations at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences as well as drug court programs authorized by the Arkansas Drug Court Act.
In North Dakota, voters rejected ballot Measure 2 that would have legalized the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for recreational use by adult consumers. The proposal would have granted 18 retailers and seven cultivation facilities permits, levied a 5% excise tax on marijuana sales, and allowed individuals to grow three cannabis plants at home.
Fifty-five percent of North Dakotans voted against legalized cannabis. When voters considered legalizing marijuana in 2018, they rejected the measure by a margin of 41% to 59%.
South Dakota voters defeated Measure 27, which would have legalized the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for adults. The measure would have legalized the growing of up to three plants at home and possession of their harvest, so long as the individuals live outside of a jurisdiction with a licensed retailer. However, the measure did not include provisions for introducing a regulated market.
In 2020, South Dakotans voted for a constitutional amendment that would have legalized cannabis. But the state Supreme Court nullified the results on technical grounds—with Gov. Kristi Noem (R) championing this decision.
Maryland voters approved the measure to legalize recreational marijuana. With the passage of Question 4, adults in Maryland will be allowed to possess up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana (or two plants) for personal use beginning July 1, 2023.
The amendment does allow for the expungement of records for people who were arrested or convicted of marijuana possession. Anyone currently serving time for possession is eligible for a full review of their case to determine if a lesser sentence is more appropriate.
The bill will establish a fund to help small businesses, minority- and women-owned firms enter the legal cannabis industry.
Missouri voters have approved an amendment to the state’s constitution that legalizes marijuana for recreational use, allowing adults 21 and older to purchase up to three ounces of marijuana. Adults will also be allowed to grow six flowering plants in their homes.
A 6% sales tax will go toward facilitating automatic expungements for certain nonviolent marijuana offenses, veterans’ health care and substance misuse treatment. The remaining funds will be used to support the state’s public defender system. Legal Missouri 2022, an advocacy group that sponsored the measure, estimates it will add at least 144 new small businesses to the current pool of licensees. The lottery winners will be selected based on their business plans and applications.