Voters in some of the most conservative states in the Union are poised to legalize marijuana, at least for medical purposes.
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Even Utah is considering legalizing marijuana in the November 2018 election. Let that one sink in for a moment.
Of course, the key is that Utah voters will consider legalizing medical marijuana, not recreational. Support is so high in the United States for medical marijuana that even the measure in Utah seems likely to pass.
How high is that support? A Quinnipiac survey in April 2018 found that 93 percent support legalized medical marijuana, with only 5 percent saying they don’t. Nothing in America gets 93 percent support. The irony is that the federal government continues to classify marijuana as a Schedule I illegal drug with no medical benefits.
This November, voters in four states will take the issue into their own hands. Two will decide on legalizing recreational use. Two will decide on medical use. If passed in every state voting next month, the U.S. would have 32 states with legal medical marijuana and 11 states with legal adult-use marijuana. Here are the states where voters will decide on marijuana ballot initiatives.
Michigan has had legal medical marijuana since 2008, making it among one of the first states to do so. Voters now will decide whether to approve adult-use cannabis. The state already is projecting it will rake in $100 million in marijuana taxes. The state would distribute some of that money to counties that allow marijuana sales, which in turn would go into education and improving roads.
Voters in North Dakota approved legal medical marijuana in November 2016, with 64 percent voting in favor. Just two years later, the state is considering legalizing recreational marijuana, even though the medical marijuana system is not yet in place. A survey conducted over the summer found that 46 percent of North Dakota voters favored legalized adult-use cannabis, with 39 percent against and 15 percent undecided.
A win in North Dakota would be significant, as it is the most conservative state considering legalization of adult-use marijuana.
Voters in Utah will decide to allow medical marijuana sales at the ballot box. However, even if passed, the new law would have some severe restrictions not found in most other states. For example, it would remain illegal to smoke marijuana. Patients would have to use marijuana via edibles, vaping or tinctures. Also, you would only be allowed to grow marijuana if you live 100 miles or more from a dispensary.
Voters in the Show Me State will decide whether to allow the sale of medical marijuana. There are three initiatives on the ballot. Two would require a constitutional amendment, one does not. The big difference is the proposed tax rate on marijuana sales, ranging from just 2 percent on one initiative to as high as 15 percent on another.
Additionally, in Wisconsin, a slew of cities and counties have put advisory initiatives on the ballot to determine whether voters in their area support legalized medical or recreational marijuana. The non-binding vote is intended to give public officials a sense of where voters stand on the issue.