Cannabis could be the issue that tips the ballots towards certain candidates around the U.S. as the country heads into mid-term elections on November 6.
Up for vote will be all 435 seats in the House of Representatives, 35 of the 100 seats in the U.S. Senate, 39 state governorships, and various state and local elections as Americans exercise their democratic right of the vote.
Many are calling these elections the “tipping point” for cannabis, with 4 states going to vote on major cannabis laws, and cannabis measures showing up on local ballots across states. As an example, California itself, which legalized cannabis recreationally earlier this year, will still have 82 ballot measures across the state related to cannabis.
Not sure about your state? Green Market Report offers Bill Track 50, a state-by-state overview of the bills across each U.S. state.
Major Changes for 4 States
The whole country will have their eyes on four states who may or may not join the 30 states who have legalized medical cannabis and 9 states (plus Washington, D.C.) who permit recreational cannabis.
On November 1 in Michigan, Proposal 1 will show up on the ballots across the state. Proposal 1 is worded as follows: A proposed initiated law to authorize and legalize possession, use and cultivation of marijuana products by individuals who are at least 21 years of age and older, and commercial sales of marijuana through state-licensed retailers. Proposition 1 would allow the purchase and possession of cannabis for adults over 21, and will allow cultivation of up to 12 plants for personal consumption. The Proposition also includes a 10% excise tax dedicated to implementation costs, clinical trials, schools, roads, and municipalities where marijuana businesses are located.
Having failed to implement the medical cannabis laws in 2016, North Dakota is going full stop on their path to legalize cannabis across the board. Proposition 3 legalizes the use, sale, possession, and distribution of marijuana for anyone 21 years or older. For anyone under the age of 21, the law creates a new specific subset of non-felony penalties. Additionally, the law legalizes “paraphernalia” for marijuana exclusively. Finally, records are expunged for anyone that followed the new law even if it occurred in the past, except for cases of someone being under the age of 21. The Proposition focuses heavily on the harmful effects of alcohol and opiate abuse in comparison to cannabis and seeking a relief of cannabis-related penalties.
In a previously conservative cannabis state, Utah is finally moving to legalize medical cannabis through Proposition 2. Led by the grassroots Utah Patients Coalition (UPC), there was enough signatures collected to add medical cannabis to the ballots for this November across the state. Proposition 2 namely seeks to protect terminally and seriously ill patients with specific debilitating medical conditions from arrest and prosecution if using medical cannabis pursuant to their doctor’s recommendation as well as allow a patient who needs assistance to designate a caregiver to help the patient to obtain and administer their medication among other cannabis-related rights unseen before in the state.
Finally, Missouri is also adding medical cannabis to the ballot. In the state, voters will be able to choose from several different medical cannabis measures that will appear on their ballots. All three measures would provide general legal protections to patients and create regulated systems of cannabis production, processing and retail sales. One proposed constitutional amendment would allow medical cannabis doctors to recommend cannabis for any medical condition to see fit. Another constitutional amendment limits doctors to prescribing per a list of qualifying conditions. Another statutory amendment would tax medical cannabis at 2% while limiting cannabis prescriptions to qualifying conditions. Ballot measures like these allow citizens to vote in the more conservative state to levels where they are more comfortable. Baby steps, right?
Other States to Watch
The gubernatorial race in Florida may determine the outcome of the future of the legalization of recreational cannabis in the Sunshine State, following a strong emergent medical legalized market. Both governor candidates Andrew Gillum and Ron DeSantis may not have similar ideas when it comes to health care, climate change, and gun control, but they both aren’t opposed to full cannabis legalization, with Gillum being more fervent in his support.
Voters in 16 counties around Wisconsin will see a question on their ballot regarding cannabis policy similar to “do you believe that marijuana should be legalized and regulated like alcohol?”, which will possibly forward cannabis progress within the state.
6 municipalities in Ohio – Dayton, Fremont, Garrettsville, Norwood, Oregon, and Windham – will be able to vote on the decriminalization of cannabis.
Engaging Youth Through Cannabis Laws
This year, cannabis has been put on the table yet again in big ways and is proving to be a strategy to engage young voters. These elections are pretty monumental, actually, because for the first time Millennials will surpass Baby Boomers as the largest generation eligible to vote. There are 8 million more voters eligible in the USA to vote now than there were when President Donald Trump was elected to office.
Young voters are said to be what can tip the election, as long as they get to the ballot box.
With 2 in 3 people or 66% of people now supporting the legalization of cannabis in the United States, we could expect to see a pro-cannabis result come in across the board as individual states administer their midterm election votes.
Become Informed on Cannabis Progress in Your State
Two helpful resources have been designed to help people understand the cannabis initiatives happening within their state.
Green Market Report offers Bill Track 50, which is an up-to-date, state-by-state overview of the bills being supported across each U.S. state. The interactive map allows you to click on each state to see that state’s trending bills, along with an up to date accounting of actions on the bill and a list of sponsors.
The National Cannabis Industry Association has released a Congressional Scorecard that shows state-by-state the voting history of members of the House of Representatives on marijuana-related appropriations amendments that were considered between 2014 and 2016 as well as identifying cosponsors of the legal cannabis industry’s priority legislation in both the House and Senate.
Cast Your Vote
Voters have a democratic choice on which side of the cannabis movement they choose to be on. My Bookie.ag is an online sportsbook where people wager more than just sports bets but also weigh in on important political and legislative issues as well. The platform was excited to announce that their online community bet 2 to 1 that cannabis would be federally legalized by 2020 in the United States.
Your important vote on November 6 can get the country one step closer.