Election Outlook Mixed for Cannabis

Only one of the five states considering legalization measures looks to be a clear winner.

The general election next week may turn out to be a very mixed bag for cannabis legalization advocates, based on polling numbers in the five states that have the issue on the ballot.

States considering legalization via ballot questions include Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota and South Dakota. While history has shown that the vast majority of such ballot measures have succeeded, this year may buck such political trends.


The latest polling out of Arkansas shows a tightening race from earlier this year.

In September, support for Issue 4 – the recreational cannabis legalization question – was at almost 60%, but as of late October, that had plummeted to just over 50%, according to a survey by Talk Business & Politics and Hendrix College.

That study found that, as of Oct. 17-18, roughly 50.5% of Arkansas voters were supportive of Issue 4, while 43% were opposed and 6.5% were undecided.


In Maryland, the trend has gone the opposite direction, with polling finding either a steady increase or at least stable support for Question 4, the cannabis legalization initiative.

According to a poll last month by The Baltimore Sun and the University of Baltimore, a solid 63% of voters will be casting a yes vote for legal cannabis, while just 25% are opposed and 12% undecided. That’s up from another September poll that found support at 59%.

A different survey by The Washington Post that same month reported 73% support for the measure.


Polls in Missouri have painted a conflicting picture about legalizing adult-use cannabis. While two voter surveys have found support for Amendment 3 below 50%, a third found that backing was at 62%.

According to a poll by Emerson College and The Hill conducted in late October, just 48% of voters support cannabis legalization, while 35% oppose the measure, and another 17% are undecided.

In September, another survey conducted by Remington Research Group and the Missouri Scout Newsletter found voter support for the amendment at just 43%, with 47% opposed and 10% undecided.

But another September poll, by SurveyUSA, found 62% of voters backing the initiative, with only 22% opposed and 16% undecided.

North Dakota

Polling has been almost nonexistent during the campaign for Statutory Measure 2, the cannabis legalization measure in North Dakota. But the little that has been done signals an uphill battle for marijuana advocates.

According to a survey by The Dickinson Press in September, only 39% expressed support, while 18% reported not caring. The largest group, at 43%, was opposed.

South Dakota

Though South Dakota voters approved a recreational marijuana ballot measure in 2020 with 54% support, that victory was thrown out by the courts, and a second shot at cannabis legalization appears to be having a tougher time than its predecessor.

This year, backers returned with Initiated Measure 27 to legalize personal adult use possession and cultivation, but it falls short of creating a regulated industry.

According to an Emerson College poll conducted in late October, just 40% of voters support the measure, while 51% are opposed, and 10% are undecided.

John Schroyer

John Schroyer has been a reporter since 2006, initially with a focus on politics, and covered the 2012 Colorado campaign to legalize marijuana. He has written about the cannabis industry specifically since 2014, after being on hand for the first-ever legal cannabis sales on New Year’s Day that year in Denver. John has covered subsequent marijuana market launches in California and Illinois, has written about every aspect of the marijuana trade, and was part of the team that built the cannabis industry’s first-ever trade show, MJBizCon. He joined Green Market Report in 2022.


  • Brian Kelly

    November 2, 2022 at 8:27 am

    Every major poll in the nation shows that The Vast Majority of Americans favor The Legalization of Cannabis Nationwide!

    “Americans Favor Legalizing Cannabis Support surged 10 percentage points in past year””

    “A solid majority of voters nationwide favor legalizing and regulating cannabissimilar to the way alcohol and tobacco cigarettes are currently regulated. Most also dont believe it should be a crime for people to smoke cannabis in the privacy of their own homes”

    “Americans favor making cannabis legal for adults, according to the findings of a CNN/ORC International survey released late Monday. The percentage is the highest ever reported by the survey, which has been tracking public opinion on the issue since 1973, and marks a 12 percentage point jump in support since the last time pollsters posed the question in 2012”


  • Savvyherb

    November 2, 2022 at 10:29 am

    Helps with pain, insomnia, and much more. Has less calories than a 12 pack. It needs to be made legal across the board — no need to reschedule, no need to do anything, but change the archaic law! Allow adults the same rights as alcohol, regulate the same way and punish misuse the same way. Don’t overthink, don’t overcomplicate!


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