Cannabis advocates win some, lose some in 2022 election

Annelise Orthey, Jonathan Rose / Nov 09, 2022
hero-graphic-Cannabis advocates win some, lose some in 2022 election
Photo Credit: Parker Johnson via Unsplash

The effort to expand adult-use markets into the South and Midwest saw some success

Election Day 2022 was a mixed bag for drug-reform advocates and the cannabis industry, as both tried to push the adult-use cannabis market into uncharted territory. An attempt to spread out of mostly coastal or progressive states and into the conservative South and Midwest went 1 for 4, while Mid-Atlantic Maryland proponents had a big victory. Here's what happened:

Arkansas — Issue 4 was REJECTED, as the initiative was met with strong opposition, including by then-candidate and now duly elected Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Even some cannabis proponents were on the fence due to tight license caps, prohibition on home grows, and strict possession limits. Leaders of the state's successful medical market dumped about $13 million into promoting the issue, but that wasn't enough to tip the Southern state into the "yes" category on adult-use cannabis.

Maryland — 65% of Maryland voters voted YES to Question 4 in the 2022 midterm election, "Do you favor the legalization of the use of cannabis by an individual who is at least 21 years of age on or after July 1, 2023, in the State of Maryland?" That made Maryland the 20th state to legalize an adult-use market

**Missouri **— Amendment 3 was PASSED, which will open up an adult-use cannabis market in the state and expunge many cannabis-related offenses. However, there is still an uphill battle ahead, as there are many critics to the amendment, including the state Democratic Party and NAACP, which said that the bill doesn't do enough for social equity. Missouri became the 21st state to legalize adult-use cannabis.

North Dakota — A second bid to create an adult-use cannabis market within the state since 2018, Measure 2, was DEFEATED, 55-45.

South Dakota — It's been an uphill battle for cannabis in South Dakota too, where voters said NO to a cannabis-related ballot that would have legalized home-grown cannabis possession. The 53-47 results come after a state-sponsored lawsuit killed a 2020 measure that was approved by 54% of South Dakota voters and would have allowed commercial cultivation and sale of adult-use cannabis.

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