A Breakdown of the Five Statewide Marijuana Initiatives Up for Consideration this November

The November election is less than five months away, with proponents of marijuana law reform having a lot to pay attention to.

Recreational marijuana is currently legal in 24 states, with medical marijuana legal in 38. Both of those numbers may climb higher following this November’s election, with three states voting to legalize recreational marijuana, one state set to vote on legalizing medical marijuana, and one set to vote on greatly expanding their medical marijuana law while establishing a federal trigger for recreational legalization.

Below is a look at these five states and their marijuana initiatives.

Florida

Amendment 3, which is officially on the November 5 presidential election ballot, would legalize the recreational possession, use and licensed distribution of marijuana. Under the proposed law, those 21 and older would be allowed to possess up to three ounces of dried marijuana flower and up to five grams of marijuana concentrates. These products would be available for purchase through licensed marijuana retail outlets and medical marijuana dispensaries that choose to obtain a dual license.

A University of North Florida poll released in November found that 67% of likely voters support Amendment 3, surpassing the 60% threshold required for the measure to become law as a constitutional amendment. A Fox News poll released earlier this month also found support for the initiative to be well above the 60% threshold, at 69%.

As of the end of May, the campaign behind Amendment 3 (Smart & Safe Florida) has raised over $60 million, more than any other statewide marijuana initiative in US history.

South Dakota

South Dakota voters this November will consider Measure 29, an initiative by South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws. The proposal would legalize recreational marijuana for those 21 and older, allowing them to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and cultivate up to three marijuana plants at a private residence. The initiative would establish a system of licensed, regulated and taxed marijuana businesses.

According to polling release last month, a plurality of voters in the state support legalizing marijuana, 45% to 42%.

North Dakota

At the end of April, North Dakota Secretary of State Michael Howe gave approval to a marijuana legalization intiaitive, sponsored by the nonprofit political committee New Economic Frontier. This gave the group one year to collect 15,582 signatures from registered North Dakota voters in order to put their marijuana legalization measure to a vote, with the initiative placed on the November 2024 ballot if the signatures are gathered by July 8.

By the begining of June, the group said that they had already collected and internally verified around 8,500 signatures, over 50% of the required amount. The group says they’re “optimistic” that they’re on path to make this year’s ballot.

The proposed initiative would allow those 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana, four grams of marijuana concentrates and 1500 milligrams of adult-use cannabinoid products (300 milligrams of this can be in the form of edible products). The initiative would also allow the personal cultivation of up to three marijuana plants, and it would allow marijuana and marijuana products to be purchased through licensed marijuana stores.

Nebraska

The nonprofit political committee Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana (NMM) says they’ve collected 75% of the required signatures to put their medical marijuana legalization initiative on the November ballot, with a spokesperson for the group saying “we’re confident our initiative will be voted on this year.”

The medical marijuana legalization initiative 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.

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.

Arkansas

Recently a spokesperson for Arkansans for Patient Access says they’re “confident” their marijuana initiative will make the November ballot, with the group required to 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, and it would legalize recreational marijuana, with the possession limit set at one ounce, if the federal government removes marijuana as a controlled substance.

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.

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