As the November 8, 2016 election deadline looms, marijuana legalization in one form or another is on the ballot in nine states throughout the nation. Seven states seek to expand what is already legal and two states seek to enter the medical marijuana field. Below is a list of what is on the ballot and where the current polling stands in these states.
Legalization of Recreational Marijuana
- Arizona – Although medical marijuana is already legal, Proposition 205, which would legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 years or older and institute a 15% tax, has a 50% approval among registered voters against a 40% opposition, while 10% of voters are undecided, according to a recent Arizona Republic/Morrison/Cronkite News poll.
- California – Medical marijuana has been legal in California since 1996. Proposition 64 would legalize recreational marijuana for adults over 21 and establish a 15% sales tax at the retail level and a $9.25 per-ounce cultivation tax. Proposition 64 has a 60% approval in a Field Poll/Institute for Government Studies against a 31% opposition, while 9% are undecided.
- Maine – Medical marijuana has been legal in Maine since 1999. Question 1 is a ballot initiative to enact the Marijuana Legalization Act which legalizes recreational marijuana and allows individuals over the age of 21 to possess, transport, transfer, or furnish 2.5 ounces of marijuana or 6 immature plants or seedlings and imposes a 10% retail tax. In a Portland Press Herald poll, 53% of registered voters would vote in favor of Question 1, 38% would vote against, and close to 10% are still undecided.
- Massachusetts – Medical marijuana is legal in Massachusetts. Voters will decide on Question 4, The Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act, which would legalize recreational marijuana and allow people 21 and older to possess up to 10 ounces of cannabis and to grow up to six plants for non-commercial purposes. According to a new poll by WBUR/MassINC Polling Group, 55% are in favor of Question 4.
- Nevada – Nevada already has legalized medical marijuana. Question 2 is a legislative initiative to legalize recreational marijuana by allowing a person 21 or older to purchase, cultivate, possess, or consume up to an ounce of non-concentrated marijuana or 1/8 of an ounce of concentrated marijuana, to cultivate up to six plants, and establish a 15% excise tax on wholesale sales of marijuana. A recent poll by Suffolk University showed that 57% are in favor of the initiative, while 33% oppose.
Expansion of Medical Marijuana
- Florida – Florida already allows patients with severe seizures to obtain low-tetrahydrocannabinol (“THC”), high cannabidiol (“CBD”) oils, and terminally ill patients to obtain full scale medical marijuana. Amendment 2 to the Florida Constitution would greatly expand the list of allowed medical conditions and requires a 60% super majority to pass. Of the eight polls conducted since January of 2015, all eight show an approval rating of at least 60%.
- Montana – Montana legalized medical marijuana in 2004. However, Senate Bill 423, which went into effect on August 31, 2016, implemented laws that banned medical marijuana advertisements, limited dispensaries to three patients, and required a review of doctors who prescribed medical marijuana to more than 25 patients per year. Now, Initiative 182 is on the ballot and it would repeal the three patients per dispensary limit and the doctors’ review. Although there is no current polling on Initiative 182, over 65% of voters support allowing dispensaries based on an August 2015 poll conducted by Public Policy Polling paid for by Marijuana Policy Project.
Legalization of Medical Marijuana
- Arkansas – Arkansas has two competing medical marijuana ballot initiatives, Issue 6 and Issue 7. Issue 6, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment, is an amendment to the Arkansas state constitution, while Issue 7, the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act, is an initiated state statute. The two issues also differ in that Issue 7 would allow patients to grow their own marijuana and Issue 6 would not. A 2012 medical marijuana ballot initiative narrowly lost, and a major organizer of that effort believed the reason to be the “grow your own” provision. He split off from the Issue 7 organizers and formed the competing Issue 6 that doesn’t contain the “grow your own” provision. The Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College poll found that 49% favor Issue 6 and 43% oppose. Further, 36% favor Issue 7 while 53% oppose.
- North Dakota – Initiated Statutory Measure 5, the North Dakota Compassionate Care Act, would legalize medical marijuana in North Dakota not to exceed three ounces per patient, and all dispensaries would have to be vertically integrated non-profit entities with not more than 1,000 growing plants and 3,500 ounces (218.75 pounds) of “usable” marijuana at any given point. Like Montana, there are no recent polls regarding medical marijuana in North Dakota, but a 2014 poll by the University of North Dakota College of Business and Public Administration found that 47% of voters supported legalizing medical cannabis, with 41% opposed and 9% neutral.
For more information, please contact a member of the Frantz Ward Marijuana Law & Policy Group.