As politicians in Washington continue to debate the pros and cons of marijuana legalization, the practical realities of cannabis advocacy continue to occur at the state level. Voters in at least four states this fall will be looking at ballots that include cannabis legislation. A Quinnipiac University poll last month reported that 63 percent of voters nationwide are in favor of ending marijuana prohibition while a supermajority of 93 percent is in favor of medical cannabis. If this growth trend translates to the state level, then most, if not all of these state initiatives have a good chance of passing.
Here are four marijuana legalization bills that may have a chance of passing this year:
According to an article in Forbes, a survey by Michigan State University released on Thursday showed that 61 percent of Michigan adults are in favor legalizing cannabis, while only about one-third of voters are opposed.
The measure, if passed, will legalize recreational marijuana for persons 21 or older. It is possible however that state lawmakers could enact marijuana legalization in the next few weeks, making the vote unnecessary. The Michigan State Legislature has until June 5, 2018, to decide. If the legislature rejects the initiative or takes no action, then the measure is placed on the ballot.
In Oklahoma, a poll published in January found that 62 percent of likely voters are in favor of a bill to legalize medical marijuana. Less than one-third of voters are opposed to the measure.
If passed, the initiative would lead to the legalization of the licensed cultivation and sale of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Obtaining a medical marijuana card would require the approval of a board-certified physician. There would be no specific qualifying conditions. Licenses will be required to operate dispensaries, commercial growing operations, and processing operations. Municipalities would be prohibited from restricting zoning laws to prevent marijuana dispensaries.
In Utah, survey results released in March showed a whopping 77 percent of voters support legislation to legalize medical cannabis.
If passed, the measure will allow physicians to recommend marijuana to patients with a qualifying illness. Patients will need a medical marijuana card to purchase cannabis products. The initiative also calls for the licensing of marijuana cultivation and processing facilities, testing laboratories, and dispensaries. The number of dispensaries will be restricted to one for every 150,000 residents.
This month Missouri saw the submission of petitions for three medical marijuana ballot initiatives. The signatures for each petition must be officially counted to determine if any of the three initiatives will qualify to go before voters in November. Back in July of 2016, a survey of Missouri voters showed that 62 percent were in favor of a medical cannabis initiative which was proposed at that time.
The initiative may appear on the ballot as an initiated constitutional amendment. If passed, the measure will remove marijuana from the state's list of controlled substances and legalize it for both personal and medical use. It would also result in the immediate release of all prisoners incarcerated for nonviolent marijuana-related crimes.