Today, millions of Americans will head to the polls to cast their vote in the U.S. 2018 Midterm Elections. As is often said, many are calling this one of the most important elections in a generation; and for the cannabis industry, it might actually be true.
On the ballot in four U.S. states are measures that are measures that would legalize either adult-use or medical cannabis in some shape or fashion. Those four key states are Michigan, North Dakota, Utah, and Missouri. Here’s a quick look at each ballot initiative and their odds of successfully passing.
Resident in Michigan will be voting on Proposal 1, a ballot initiative legalizing cannabis for adults over the age of 21. If passed, the measure will allow adult-use cannabis sales through state-licensed dispensaries and, levy a 10% excise tax, and allow individuals to grow up to 12 cannabis plants for personal use. Current polling for the measure shows strong support among likely Michigan residents, with approximately 57% of respondents in favor of the measure and 40% opposed.
Similarly, Proposition 3 in North Dakota would legalize adult-use cannabis sales and cannabis paraphernalia for adults over the age of 21. Unlike previous legalization measures, Proposition 3 would expunge the criminal record for every individual arrested for cannabis possession, provided that they were over the age of 21 when the arrest took place. Skewing uniquely Libertarian, the measure is largely silent on cannabis sales, home cultivation, or possession limits. Polling has been all over the place with Proposition 3, with some polls showing it passing by 51% while others have the measure only garnering 26% of the vote. Given the erratic polling, this race is truly a toss-up.
In Utah, Proposition 2 would somewhat legalize medical cannabis for patients suffering from debilitating conditions. Instead of creating a taxed and regulated dispensary-based system, Proposition 2 would allow patients to obtain medical cannabis through a designated caregiver. Earlier this year support for Proposition 2 was relatively high, but in the intervening weeks before the election, support for the measure has waned to around 51%. Aggravating this declining support is the fact that patient advocates and Utah state legislators have already agreed to make changes to the legislation once passed, which has rankled cannabis supporters. Proposition 2 is still expected to pass, but what that means for patients or the industry is still unclear.
There are three cannabis initiatives on the ballot in Missouri; Amendment 2, Amendment 3, and Proposition C. As the names imply, Amendment 2 and 3 would enshrine medical cannabis laws into the state’s constitution while Proposition C would merely change the law. All three measures would legalize medical cannabis, establish state dispensaries, and tax medical cannabis sales. For the most part, the only key differences are how high the taxes are and where they are distributed. The measure which has the most support is Amendment 2, and many outside observers expect that it will be the one to pass out of the three. Unlike the other two, Amendment 2 would allow patients to grow up to six plants and patients could grow up to 18 plants. Polling for this initiative has been somewhat spotty, with most simply asking about the public’s general support for cannabis. However, the most recent poll from Emerson College found that 63% of state residents supported legalizing medical cannabis; indicating that all three measures have a strong chance to pass.
With the exception of the toss-up in North Dakota, all of the proposed cannabis initiatives show strong signs that they will pass; giving many in the cannabis industry a feeling of cautious optimism. In a statement, Kevin Love, Director of Product Development for Cannabiniers, said that his company feels confident in the outcome of this upcoming election.
“We are optimistic for the election outcomes due largely in part to the fact that there are more candidates running in favor of cannabis reform than ever before,” said Love. “General public support of cannabis legalization is the greatest that it has ever been. As we bring our cannabis brands nationally, we are excited for more states to expand access to legal cannabis.”