Sales and possession of marijuana for adult recreational use is legal in nine U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Another 29 states have legalized marijuana for medical use. As of last week, voters in four more states will get the opportunity to vote on legalizing marijuana this year.
According to a recent Quinnipiac University poll, nearly two-thirds (63%) of voters nationally support ending federal and state prohibitions on marijuana. A third do not support legalization, but only 23% support federal interference with state marijuana laws.
When it comes to legalizing marijuana for medical use, 93% of Americans support the change while just 5% oppose it.
Here’s a rundown on the where ballot initiatives stand ahead of this year’s elections.
On April 26, the Board of Canvassers ruled that 277,230 valid signatures had been submitted, nearly 10% more than required to get an adult use measure on the ballot. The state legislature has 40 days in which it could moot the initiative by passing legislation to legalize recreational sales and use. If it rejects the initiative or sits on its hands, the measure will be on the November ballot. Michigan is the only one of the four states seeking to legalize adult recreational use.
Oklahomans will vote in June on State Question 788 that would allow doctors to recommend adult patients for a state-issued medical marijuana license. Then last month a group called Green The Vote was cleared to begin gathering signatures on State Questions 796 and 797. The first is a constitutional amendment that would allow medical marijuana and the second is an initiative to legalize adult recreational use. Supporters need to collect 123,725 valid signatures on each question by August 8 in order to get one or both on the November ballot.
The state’s county clerks have verified that legalization activists have gathered more than enough signatures to put a medical marijuana initiative on the November ballot. The lieutenant governor has until May 15 to confirm the decision and get the measure on the ballot. While 77% of Utahns support medical marijuana, the Mormon church on Friday released a memo citing 31 reasons it opposes legalization.
Activists submitted three different petitions a week ago that take different approaches to legalizing medical marijuana use in the state. A fourth proposal supporting legalizing adult recreational use was also submitted. In order to get on the ballot, approximately 168,000 valid signatures are required on each petition. Two of the medical marijuana petitions and the one supporting adult recreational use call for amendments to the state’s constitution. The third medical marijuana proposal calls for a statutory change. Any petition with the required number of valid signatures will be included on the November ballot and that could lead to splitting support and, ultimately, failure to pass any of them.