Election Day Results on Recreational Marijuana
On Tuesday, November 8, 2022, voters in Missouri and Maryland voted to legalize recreational marijuana. This move is estimated to loosen laws for more than 12 million Americans, although the substance remains illegal at the federal level as a Schedule 1 substance.
In Maryland, Voters were asked: "Do you favor the legalization of the use of cannabis by an individual who is at least 21 years of age on or after July 1, 2023, in the State of Maryland?" Approximately 65% of voters said “yes.” Purchase and possession of 1.5 ounces of cannabis will be legal for those above the age of 21, and adults will be able to grow up to two cannabis plants for personal use. Implementation of the referendum, however, will take time. Possession of marijuana will become a civil offense on Jan. 1, 2023, with legalization for up to 1.5 ounces happening six months later.
In Missouri, the vote was much closer. With 99.9% of votes in early Wednesday, it passed with 53% support. That ballot measure will remove bans on the "purchase, possession, consumption, use, delivery, manufacture, and sale of marijuana for personal use for adults over the age of twenty-one." The initiative will also impose a 6% tax on retail sales of recreational marijuana.
In contrast, Arkansas, South Dakota, and North Dakota voters rejected the legalization of marijuana. In North Dakota, it is the second time in four years that voters rejected such efforts, the first being in 2018. Interestingly, in 2020, South Dakota voters supported marijuana’s legalization once before, with 54% voting in favor. A legal challenge spearheaded by South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem stopped the reform from moving forward at that time.