Six out of ten Americans are in favor of legalization, and this statistic is urging many state senators and representatives to push (sometimes forcefully) for the legalization of adult-use and medical marijuana. That is why voters can anticipate seeing a lot of marijuana initiatives on the ballot for the upcoming November 2018 elections.
Four states have brand new laws regarding cannabis legalization up for the vote this November. There are two more states with cannabis legislation reforms pending until after the election. Even if some of the proposed initiatives did not make it onto the ballot this time around, the odds are still in their favor as more and more states are making moves to modernize their own medical marijuana laws.
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Just last month, the state of New York updated its list of approved conditions for medical marijuana. Georgia did the same back in June, and the state has new recreational marijuana reforms waiting on a vote in the general assembly. With states introducing cannabis legislation left and right, here is a recap on the states voting on marijuana initiatives in November:
There are more medical marijuana initiatives on the upcoming 2018 Missouri ballot than there are in any other state. All three of Missouri’s proposals will legalize medical marijuana for patients with qualifying conditions, but each costs the state and consumers differently. Amendment 2 would cost the state $7 million but send tax proceeds to healthcare services for veterans. Amendment 3 would only cost the state $500,000 but comes with a steeper sales tax of 15 percent. Missouri’s Proposition C is the most expensive but offers the lowest sales tax of 2 percent. There are a lot of options for Missouri voters, but with a 95 percent approval rating in the state, at least one of the new medical marijuana laws is likely to pass.
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The Utah Patients Coalition got over 150,000 signatures in order to get the Utah Medical Cannabis Act on the ballot for November. Should it pass, the act will legalize medical marijuana for Utahns with qualifying conditions. The initial initiative is asking for a wider medicinal marijuana program that treats more patients than state lawmakers anticipated, but the governor recently assured constituents that, regardless of how voting goes, the state government will be looking into medical marijuana.
The state legalized medical marijuana nearly ten years ago, but this November is recreational marijuana’s turn. The 2018 Michigan Marijuana Legalization Initiative would legalize adult-use marijuana for state citizens over the age of 21. The new law would tack a 10 percent sales tax to cannabis as well as an additional six percent state sales tax. But should it pass, these taxes could generate over $500 million in revenue for the state in the first five years.
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Recreational marijuana is on the ballot just two years after the state legalized medical marijuana. The new initiative would not only make marijuana legal for anyone over 21 years of age but also expunge all of the criminal records of all of those ever convicted of nonviolent marijuana possession charges. But unlike the other states on this list, North Dakota’s 2018 Marijuana Legalization and Automatic Expungement Initiative does not officially create a licensing or regulation program for cannabis. That could be a make-or-break decision for voters on November 6.
Illinois will have a non-binding question regarding recreational marijuana on the November ballot. It does not count as a vote. Rather, the question acts as a statewide poll collecting Illinois’ overall opinion on recreational marijuana. What the state legislature intends to do with this information is still up in the air. Illinois legalized medical marijuana in 2015 and is currently serving over 46,000 patients.
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Senators Bryan Terry and Steve Dickerson, both Republican, are sponsoring the Tennessee Responsible Use of Medicinal Plants (TRUMP) Act. As the state law stands now, only terminally ill patients can try cannabis-based medicines that are past the first phase of FDA trials. The TRUMP Act would open up more research into the benefits of medical marijuana and expand its use for more patients. The senators anticipate filing the bill pending Terry’s re-election on November 6.