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5 states trying to legalize recreational cannabis Nov. 8

This November, five states — Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota and South Dakota — will vote on whether to allow recreational cannabis.

This comes in addition to the 19 states currently allowing both recreational and medical cannabis use, of which Colorado was one of the first.

The next election cycle will likely see Oklahoma, Florida, Nebraska, Wyoming and Ohio hosting votes over cannabis. There are also lots of local measures not mentioned here that are going on, so if you’re from out of state (or the Jefferson or El Paso counties in Colorado), make sure to check your ballot.

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Issue No. 4 on the ballot in Arkansas — the Arkansas Adult Use Cannabis Amendment — would make recreational use and sales legal in the state. The state’s 40 existing medical dispensaries would be automatically given recreational licenses in March to sell to the of-age general public, but they would have to sell at a new facility at least five miles from any medical dispensary.

Related: Arkansas officials OK signatures for marijuana initiative

Possession of one ounce would be permitted for recreational users, separate from any medical allotments. A sales tax of up to 16.5% would be added, plus any local taxes.


Question 4 on Maryland’s ballot, the Marijuana Legalization Amendment, would enable adults 21 years old and over to purchase, possess and use recreational cannabis. The public vote is to enable the Maryland General Assembly to set rules about the implementation details, like regulations on distribution, taxation and more.


Missouri’s Amendment 3, the Marijuana Legalization Initiative, would make legal the recreational use and sale of cannabis in addition to allowing individuals convicted of cannabis offenses to petition to be released from prison and have their records expunged. There would only be a 6% retail sales tax placed on recreational cannabis products.

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North Dakota

North Dakota’s Statutory Measure 2, the Marijuana Legalization Initiative, would legalize possession and use of up to one ounce of cannabis for adults 21 and up. Individuals could also cultivate three plants. The state’s Department of Health and Human Services would have until October 2023 to establish regulations for the adult use of cannabis.

South Dakota

In 2020, South Dakota voters approved a constitutional amendment legalizing cannabis, but a lawsuit endorsed by Gov. Kristi Noem challenged it in the state’s supreme court. It was ultimately rejected because it legalized recreational cannabis, medical cannabis and hemp, and the state requires constitutional amendments to address only one subject.

Related: South Dakota Could Soon See Recreational Marijuana

If enacted, South Dakota’s Initiated Measure 27 would make it the first state to legalize cannabis twice. Unlike its predecessor, this bill does not address taxation, licensing or other regulatory hurdles in legalization. Measure 27 is all about legalizing the possession, distribution and use of recreational cannabis for adults 21 years old and over.

5 states trying to legalize recreational cannabis Nov. 8

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