Election 2018

2018 has been a blockbuster year for cannabis. This summer Oklahoma became the 30th US state to legalize medical marijuana and in a surprise move, Vermont became the 9th state to legalize recreational cannabis – the first state to do so through its legislature. That’s in addition to the legalization happening around the world, with countries like Canada and South Africa legalizing cannabis for adult and private use respectively.

We’ve come a long way since California voters approved the nation’s first medical cannabis initiative nearly 25 years ago, but none of this would have happened without citizens hitting the streets and heading to the polls to have their voices heard. Whether voting for legislation directly, or for state and local representatives whose platforms include an end to prohibition, we are the ones activating these changes. And with the mid-term elections just weeks away, it’s more important than ever to maintain the momentum by voting.

All eyes are watching the four states with cannabis legalization on the ballots: Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota and Utah. Want know what’s at stake? We’ve put together this mid-term voters guide get you up to speed.

MICHIGAN

What’s on the Ballot

The Michigan Proposal 1 Marijuana Legalization Initiative4 proposes legalizing the use and possession of cannabis and cannabis-infused edibles for adults aged 21 and older. Proposal 1 would also legalize the cultivation, processing, distribution and sales of industrial hemp. The initiative allows for a 10% excise tax on marijuana sales, which would be directed towards K-12 education, local governments, and road and bridge maintenance. The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs will implement the initiative and oversee commercial production and distribution.

What’s Legal

Michigan legalized medical cannabis in 2008, so this new initiative would usher in a recreational market in which people aged 21 and older will be allowed to possess, use, transport or process no more than 2.5 ounces of marijuana or 15 grams of marijuana concentrate. It will be legal to grow up to 12 cannabis plants and store up to 10 ounces of home-grown weed in locked containers. Adults will also be allowed to “share or transfer without payment” up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis with one another.

Proposal 1 also will permit adults over the age of 21 to grow, process, distribute and sell industrial hemp – defined as cannabis containing no more than 0.3% THC – which would change the existing law allowing for the growth of hemp solely for research purposes by universities and Michigan’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

What’s Illegal

Under Proposal 1, it will be illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to possess, use or transport cannabis, and for anyone to distribute cannabis to persons under the age of 21. Smoking in public and driving under the influence of marijuana would be illegal, and local municipalities also have the right to ban or limit cannabis businesses.

Where Legalization Stands

Things look promising for legalization. A recent statewide poll of 600 Michigan voters revealed that 56% of respondents are in favor of legalization, 41% are opposed, and 3% are undecided.

MISSOURI

What’s on the Ballot

Missouri voters have three different legalization measures to consider this mid-term:

* Missouri Amendment 2 would legalize medical cannabis and apply a 4% tax towards healthcare services for veterans in a program to be regulated by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

* Missouri Amendment 3 would legalize medical cannabis and apply a 15% tax towards the establishment and funding of a Biomedical Research and Drug Development Institute. The Institute would oversee the state’s medical marijuana program and research cures for diseases like cancer. This proposal allows for no fewer than 2 dispensaries per 20,000 residents.

* Missouri Proposition C would legalize medical cannabis and apply a 2% sales tax towards funding veteran’s services, law enforcement, drug treatment, and education. The initiative would allow for no less than one cannabis retail center per 100,000 state residents, and the program would be overseen by the Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control, and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

What’s Legal

If voters approve Missouri Amendment 2, state-licensed physicians will be able to recommend medical marijuana for 9 qualifying conditions, with the ability to approve others as needed. It will be legal for patients to purchase no less than 4 ounces of dried cannabis or equivalent within a 30-day period. Patients will be able to grow up to 6 plants in their home for personal use and may possess not less than a 60-day supply or dried flower or equivalent. Patients wanting to grow additional plants or purchase more cannabis may be able to do so with written certification from two independent physicians. If approved, local governments will not be allowed to ban cannabis businesses.

Under Missouri Amendment 3, state-licensed physicians can recommend medical cannabis for 10 qualifying conditions, with the potential for more to be added by the Research Institute. Patients will be allowed to purchase no less than 3 ounces of dried flower or equivalent in a 30-day period, with the option of receiving more via written certification by 2 independent physicians. There are currently no specified limits on how much cannabis a patient can possess, nor are there limits on the number of plants they can grow. Under this initiative, local governments will allow voters to ban cannabis businesses via majority vote.

If passed, Missouri Proposition C would allow state-licensed physicians to recommend cannabis for 9 qualifying conditions, and have the ability to approve others. It will be legal for patients to purchase 2.5 ounces of flower or equivalent within a 14-day period, and to possess a 60-day supply of flower or equivalent at a given time. Under this initiative, local governments will allow voters to ban cannabis businesses via two-thirds vote.

What’s Illegal

Under the medical program, Missouri residents without a doctor recommendation will not be allowed to purchase or possess medical cannabis. Under Proposition C, home cultivation would not be permitted.

Where Legalization Stands

The complex nature of Missouri’s prospective cannabis legislation makes it difficult to know which of the 3 measures is most likely to pass. But based on average survey responses collected in 2018, 54% of respondents support cannabis legalization in Missouri, 35% oppose it and 11% are undecided.

NORTH DAKOTA

What’s on the Ballot

North Dakota’s Measure 3 Marijuana Legalization and Automatic Expungement Initiative proposes the legalization of cannabis for adults aged 21 and older. The initiative creates an expungement process for individuals who have been convicted of “illegitimate drug violations” for a controlled substance that has since been legalized. In such cases, the individual’s record would be expunged and sealed automatically during a process that would begin within 30 days if the person is not incarcerated, and 30 days after release from prison for those who are incarcerated.

What’s Legal

North Dakota legalized medical cannabis in 2016 and if Measure 3 is approved, it would remove THC, hashish and marijuana from North Dakota’s list of Schedule 1 controlled substances. Adults aged 21 and over will be able to legally purchase, use, transport and grow cannabis without the risk of prosecution. There are currently no limits set on how much an adult can possess or cultivate.

What’s Illegal

It will be illegal for individuals under the age of 21 to possess, use, transport or grow cannabis, and for an individual to distribute cannabis to anyone under the age of 21. The penalties for a minor in possession of marijuana are the same as for an underage person in possession of alcohol. Likewise, selling cannabis to anyone under 21 carries the same penalties as selling alcohol to a minor.

Where Legalization Stands

It could go either way. A recent poll shows just 38% of voters in support legalization, while 56% oppose it and 5% of voters are undecided. Those results differ from a survey conducted in February 2018, where 46% of respondents say they would vote to legalize recreational cannabis, 39% say they’d vote no, and 15% were undecided.

UTAH

What’s on the Ballot

Utah Proposition 2 Medical Marijuana Initiative proposes the legalization of medical cannabis for use by individuals with certain qualifying conditions. The initiative includes the creation of a Compassionate Use Board, which will review and recommend individuals who are otherwise not qualified to receive medical marijuana be allowed to do so upon approval from the Department of Health.

What’s Legal

In 2014, Utah legalized the possession and use of low-THC CBD oil for registered patients without establishing how those patients would be able to purchase it legally. Proposition 2 fleshes out a full medical program, enabling patients with such qualifying conditions as HIV, AIDS, cancer, Alzheimer’s, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy, PTSD and others to obtain a medical marijuana card with a doctor’s recommendation. If passed, the law would allow a patient to purchase 2 ounces of unprocessed marijuana, or other marijuana product containing no more than 10 grams of THC or CBD. Effective January 2021, medical cardholders will be allowed to grow 6 cannabis plants for personal use if there are no dispensaries located within 200 miles of their homes.

What’s Illegal

Under this proposal, it would be illegal to smoke cannabis or to use a device that facilitates the smoking of cannabis. It will also be illegal to drive under the influence and to use marijuana in public view unless in the case of an emergency. If approved, local governments will not be allowed to ban cannabis businesses.

Where Legalization Stands

Recent survey results show 64% of voters in support of legalization and 33% percent opposed, but this is a noticeable decline from a May survey in which 73% of respondents reportedly supported the measure. A lot can change in a few weeks, so time will tell.

Whether you’re a resident of one of these states or not, what happens this mid-term could either slow or accelerate the progress of legalization in this country. Use this guide to study up and to help friends and family in those states be informed, but most importantly of all, tell everyone you know to show up to vote on November 6!

Kaisha is a content writer specializing in the cannabis industry. Judging by her social media, she’s super into cats and Jeff Goldblum.

Facebook

Instagram

Website