This November, voters in five states—Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota and South Dakota—will decide on whether they want to legalize adult-use marijuana.
Currently, 19 states, comprising 44 percent of the U.S. population, have legal adult-use marijuana markets. If voters in Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota and South Dakota approve adult-use, about half of the U.S. population will reside in a jurisdiction where the possession and use of cannabis are legal for adults.
Because recent polling shows that most of these measures enjoy majority support from the public, experts are predicting a successful outcome at the ballot box for all aforementioned states, regardless of their being “red” or “blue.”
That does not mean that opponents might not employ “anti-democratic gamemanship to prevent voters from weighing in on the issue,” said Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML, in a statement. NORML is a Washington, DC-based nonprofit that advocates for marijuana laws reform.
For instance, several of the ballot measures faced “protracted litigation” by opponents and prohibitionists who sought to have them removed over “perceived technicalities,” noted NORML. Other than an Oklahoma measure, most of the efforts were futile.
In addition to the ballot measures in Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota and South Dakota, voters in dozens of cities will be deciding on municipal ballot questions this fall. Voters in several Ohio cities will vote on municipal measures “depenalizing activities involving marijuana possession,” according to NORML.
In Rhode Island, which legalized recreational weed in May, voters in 31 towns will decide whether or not to allow licensed cannabis retailers in their localities. Voters in cities in several other states, including Colorado, Michigan, and Montana, will also decide on similar local ballot measures.
Almost two years ago, voters in Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota voted to legalize adult-use marijuana. South Dakota’s election results were later nullified by the state’s Supreme Court.