Little Rock, Ark. – Voters in 5 states are deciding election day approve or not recreational marijuanaa move that could mark a major shift towards legalization even in the most conservative parts of the country.
The proposal is on ballot in Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota and South Dakota and is as follows: President Joe Biden’s move Towards decriminalization of marijuana. Biden announced last month that he would pardon thousands of Americans convicted of simple possession of marijuana under federal law.
A marijuana initiative supporter said of Biden’s announcement: may boost for their efforts.
Recreational marijuana has been legalized in 19 states, and polls show opposition to softening legalization. In the 2020 presidential election, every state that uses recreational marijuana voted for Donald Trump, except Maryland.
Five states now also have legal medical marijuana programs. This includes Arkansas, which became the first Bible He belt state to approve medical marijuana in 2016. The state clinic opened in his 2019 and has more than 91,000 patients with cards to legally purchase medical marijuana.
legalization campaign Raised About $23 million in five states, with Arkansas and Missouri making up the majority. More than 85% of donations to those two states came from donors associated with companies holding medical marijuana licenses, according to an Associated Press analysis of the latest campaign finance reports.
of Arkansasproponents are running upbeat ads touting the thousands of jobs they say will be created by the bill. ‘ warns you.
The initiative will appeal to traditional legalization opponents, as well as some medical marijuana It has also been criticized by its supporters. Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson, former director of the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration, also opposes the bill.
Missouri Proposal Legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older and expunge records of past arrests and convictions for nonviolent marijuana offenses, except for sale to minors and drunken driving. Maryland’s proposal would also change criminal law and automatically expunge past marijuana possession convictions.
North Dakota Measures Allows people over the age of 21 to legally use marijuana in their homes and to own and grow cannabis in limited amounts. It also establishes policies for regulating retailers, growers, and other types of marijuana businesses.
South Dakota, which includes a significant number of Republicans, voted to legalize marijuana possession in 2020, but that law was overturned by the state Supreme Court. recreation pot It stands in front of the electorate, so it stands on its own.
In Colorado, where recreational marijuana has been legal for nearly a decade, voters on Tuesday picked up a proposal to allow marijuana use. certain hallucinogenic substancesIf approved, Colorado would be the second state to take such action.
Melody Finley, a Republican from Little Rock, Arkansas, voted in favor of the state’s legalization measures.
“If you can buy alcohol, you can buy it,” said Finley, 47, a dance instructor.
But Sioux Falls, South Dakota voter Rick Huffman voted against the state’s legalization proposal on Tuesday, two years after supporting recreational marijuana on the state’s 2020 ballot. .
“I have teenage children now,” he said. “I think it will eventually, but we may have to wait until the kids are older.”
AP writer Stephen Groves of Sioux Falls, South Dakota contributed to this report.
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