The 3 States On Track to Place Medical Marijuana Initiatives On This November’s Ballot

Voters in two states are set to decide on recreational marijuana initiatives this November, while three additional states are on track to consider measures related to medical marijuana.

Of the 12 states that currently do not allow medical marijuana, Nebraska and Idaho are poised to have its voters consider legalizing it this November. Meanwhile, Arkansas voters may get the opportunity to vote on a measure to expand its existing medical marijuana program.

Here’s a closer look at these states and their specific initiatives:

Arkansas

In February Arkansans Attorney General Tim Griffin gave approval to the ballot language of an initiative submitted by  Arkansans for Patient Access that would expand the state’s medical marijuana program and ease access for patients. The group immediately began collecting signatures in hopes of making this November’s ballot. To achieve that goal, they must collect 90,704 signatures by July 5.

The initiative would expand the state’s medical marijuana law, passed in 2016, to allow patients to grow their own marijuana at a private residence, with the limit set at seven mature plants and seven immature plants. It would also remove the retail prohibition on certain smokeable marijuana products such as pre-rolls.

The initiative would also:

  • Allow medical marijuana assessments and renewals to be conducted via telehealth.
  • Allow out-of-state patients to receive protections under the state’s medical marijuana law.
  • Expand new patient cards to last three years rather than one.
  • Allow physician assistants, nurse practitioners and pharmacists to recommend medical marijuana in addition to physicians.
  • Allow the above list of healthcare professions to recommend medical marijuana for any condition they deem appropriate, rather than having to follow the current list of qualifying conditions.

The initiative would also legalize recreational marijuana, with the possession limit set at one ounce, if the federal government removes marijuana as a controlled substance.

Nebraska

The nonprofit political committee Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana (NMM) is currently collecting signatures for a pair of initiatives that would legalize medical marijuana and provide protections for physicians who recommend it. The group began collecting signatures almost ten months ago, with the goal of 125,000 by July in order to make the November, 2024 ballot.

One of the two initiatives would “enact a statute that makes penalties inapplicable under state and local law for the use, possession, and acquisition of limited quantities of cannabis for medical purposes by a qualified patient with a written recommendation from a health care practitioner, and for a caregiver to assist a qualified patient in these activities.”

The proposal would create the Nebraska Medical Cannabis Commission to provide the necessary “registration and regulation of persons that possess, manufacture, distribute, deliver, and dispense cannabis for medical purposes.”

The second initiative would provide legal protections for doctors who recommend marijuana to their patients.

Crista Eggers, co-chair of MMM, says she’s “confident” the group will accomplish their goal of putting the initiatives to a vote in 2024.

Polling released earlier this year —commissioned by the Neilan Strategy Group, and conducted by Data Targeting Inc.— found that 70% of voters in the state support legalizing medical marijuana.

 

Idaho

A group named Kind Idaho is actively working to get an initiative on the ballot this November that would legalize medical marijuana for individuals with qualifying conditions, provided they have a physician’s recommendation. The proposed law would allow patients to possess up to four ounces of marijuana and cultivate up to six plants for personal use. Additionally, it would create a system of licensed and regulated medical marijuana dispensaries.

The initiative campaign is funded by the Marijuana Policy Project, an organization with a track record of spearheading successful medical and recreational marijuana legalization efforts in various states.

The group has until May 1, 2024 to collect 62,896 signatures from registered Idaho voters for the measure to be considered this November.

The initiative would allow medical marijuana use for a wide range of qualifying conditions. These include cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Other qualifying conditions are inflammatory bowel disease, Huntington’s disease, Tourette syndrome, and any chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition that causes cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe pain, severe nausea, seizures (including those characteristic of epilepsy), or severe and persistent muscle spasms (such as those associated with multiple sclerosis). Additionally, the initiative would cover any terminal illness with a life expectancy of less than twelve months, as determined by a licensed medical physician.

You can find the initiative’s title, long ballot title and full text by clicking here.

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