Marijuana Ballot Initiatives

Where Voters Are Likeliest to Legalize Marijuana in a Month

With pot on the ballot in nine states, support for allowing recreational use is strongest in California, while Florida looks likeliest to permit medical use.

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Jacob Sullum

A month away from Election Day, it seems likely that California will join the four other states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use. Every poll taken so far this year indicates that most voters favor Proposition 64, a.k.a. the Control, Tax, and Regulate Adult Use of Marijuana Act, with support in three September surveys ranging from 52 percent to 60 percent. If the California initiative passes, it will more than triple the number of Americans who live in jurisdictions that see fit to tolerate cannabis consumption without a doctor's note. Legalization also looks more likely than not in Maine and Nevada, although the numbers there are closer. Massachusetts and Arizona are longer shots.

In addition to the five states considering legalization for general use, four states will decide whether patients should be allowed to use (or, in Montana's case, have easier access to) marijuana for symptom relief. If the Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota initiatives pass, the number of medical marijuana states will rise from 25 to 28. Polling indicates that support is strongest in Florida, where a similar measure fell two points short of the required 60 percent supermajority two years ago.

Here is a rundown of the nine marijuana initiatives on state ballots next month, including relevant polling data where available:

Arizona (Proposition 205): Legalizes marijuana for recreational use, allows home cultivation and sharing, and authorizes production and distribution by state-licensed businesses, some of which eventually could allow on-site consumption. Full text. Support for the measure in three polls conducted this year—one in April and two in August—averages 44 percent. Opposition averages 47 percent, with 9 percent undecided.

Arkansas (Issue 6 and Issue 7): Both initiatives allow production and distribution of marijuana for medical use. Issue 7 (full text) is more permissive than Issue 6 (full text), recognizing more treatable conditions (56 vs. 17) and allowing patients to grow their own medicine. A June survey by Public Opinion Strategies put support for Issue 6 and Issue 7 at 63 percent and 68 percent, respectively. A September survey by Talk Business & Politics/Hendrix College, by contrast, found that Issue 6 had more support: 49 percent, compared to 36 percent for Issue 7. Opposition was 43 percent and 53 percent, respectively. The last medical marijuana initiative in Arkansas fell a point and a half short in 2012.

California (Proposition 64): Legalizes marijuana for recreational use, allows home cultivation and sharing, authorizes production and distribution by state-licensed businesses, which can make deliveries to consumers and allow on-site consumption if licensed for that purpose. Full text. Support for the measure in eight polls conducted this year, including three from last month, averages 60 percent. Opposition averages 35 percent, with 5 percent undecided.

Florida (Amendment 2): Allows the use of marijuana for the treatment of 10 specified conditions as well as "other debilitating medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to those enumerated." Authorizes production and distribution by state-licensed medical marijuana treatment centers. Full text. As a constitutional amendment, the initiative needs approval from 60 percent of voters to pass. Support for the measure in 10 polls conducted this year, including two last month, averages 69 percent. Opposition averages 24 percent, with 7 percent undecided.

Maine (Question 1): Legalizes marijuana for recreational use, allows home cultivation and sharing, and authorizes production and distribution by state-licensed businesses, which can allow on-site consumption with a special license. Full text. Support for the measure in two polls conducted this year—one on March and one in September—averages 53 percent. Opposition averages 40 percent, with 7 percent undecided.

Massachusetts (Question 4): Legalizes marijuana for recreational use, allows home cultivation and sharing, and authorizes production and distribution by state-licensed businesses, which can allow on-site consumption with local approval. Full text. Support for the measure in seven polls conducted this year, including two last month, averages 50 percent. Opposition averages 42 percent, with 8 percent undecided.

Montana (I-182): Allows production and distribution of marijuana by state-licensed providers for treatment of specified medical conditions and others subsequently added by the legislature. Full text. Although medical use has been legal in Montana since 2004, patients' access to marijuana is severely limited due to a 2011 legislative crackdown. I could not find any polling numbers for I-182, but the 2004 initiative passed with 62 percent of the vote.

Nevada (Question 2): Legalizes marijuana for recreational use, allows home cultivation and sharing, and authorizes production and distribution by state-licensed businesses, which cannot allow on-site consumption without new state legislation and local approval. Full text. Support for the measure in five polls conducted this year, including three last month, averages 51 percent. Opposition averages 40 percent, with 9 percent undecided.

North Dakota (Initiated Statutory Measure 5): Allows the use of marijuana for treatment of specified "debilitating medical conditions" and others added by the legislature. Authorizes production and distribution of medical marijuana by state-registered, nonprofit "compassion centers." Full text. In a 2014 poll of likely voters by the University of North Dakota College of Business and Public Administration, 47 percent said marijuana should be legal for medical use, 41 percent said it shouldn't, and 9 percent were neutral. I did not find any polls that asked specifically about the 2016 initiative.

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20 responses to “Where Voters Are Likeliest to Legalize Marijuana in a Month

  1. The FL bill doesn’t look great, but it’s better than nothing I guess. Hopefully it will be a camels nose.

    1. I see it as the first step towards recreational legalization, but I do agree it’s not a fantastic bill.

    2. Nothing spells freedom like CA prop 64… only 65 pages of authoritarian legalese. Licenses, permits, fees, penalties, taxes, new bureaucracies, enforcement. Better than nothing?

      1. Yes. PLEASE CA vote to legalize there!!! Maybe that way CAers will stop moving to CO and screwing things up here.

  2. What I’m waiting for is the first bill in a state that allows recreational use that invites the busybody regulation to go climb a tree.

    1. What in the world would be the point of such a total waste of time and resources?

  3. Michigan had two ballot proposals for casual /recreational use which were thrown out because some signatures were more than 180 days old . . . lame use of a ballot regulation law that probably hasn’t been dusted off in decades. One group that was denied has petition the Michigan Supreme Court to continue to allow it on the ballot, no result yet.
    Otherwise, Michigan does have a voter-passed Medical use act, that now includes edibles and dispensaries.

  4. Prop 64 sounds innocent enough but if take a close look the Tax and Regulate the Adult Use of Marijuana Act is TRAUMA. That’s what well be getting when we hand our sacred healing herb over to the corporations!!!

    ^Not far from the real derp I see on the daily.

  5. Idaho continues to choose to use the criminal justice system to extract funds from people who choose to partake. Fuck you Idaho, I am moving to Spokane.

  6. Mass., my former home state, is curious. Voters there rejected a referendum to require mandatory seatbelt use in the mid 80s, then the legislature passed a law requiring it a few years later, and voters upheld it. More recently, voters rejected a referendum that would allow beer and wine to be sold at supermarkets instead of only at package stores, then they repealed a sales tax on beer that the legislature had passed.

    The booze lobby has a lot of power in Mass. and they probably aren’t going to like having to compete with weed and are funding the anti-campaign, which is why the margin is so close.

    1. The Doritos and pizza lobbies will be strong supporters. And I can’t see that mj really cuts down on consumption of alcohol much. Maybe increases it.

      1. The fans of cannabis have an obesity rate 1/3 lower than that of the general population. It’s really not very smart to extrapolate the future from what you saw in the frat house at college.

  7. I own my body – not the centralized socialist state – and I will put into it – what I want.

  8. Gary and the LP were mentioned on Brazilian teevee for the first time ever today. The infomercial began with a train ride thru NM into Colorado, where the Assassin of Youth is openly for sale (albeit to grownups and limited to a lid a day), then cut to a clip of angst-ridden mystics bemoaning the deaths of heroin addicts caused by variable black-market dope, and allegations that These States are frantic over the sudden epidemic of heroin. There was indeed such a thing, but it was in 1924, when heroin made its debut in the Democratic Party platform because nobody could buy felony beer and opted for acetylmorphine instead. Fortunately, the talking turd asserted that Gary “had no chance” of bring elected, then cut to concerned mysical bigots agonizing over how kids might pass up Jack Daniels and heroin and instead raid mommy’s stash of bud. This is the nationalsocialist country that just impeached a sitting 2-term president for signing a bill allowing rape victims a morning after pill.

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  10. The Panic of 1907 was driven mainly by unintended consequences of prohibitionism, mostly in the Deep South. Alabama, for instance, made beer and the Demon Rum hideous crimes, with most of the state bone-dry in early 1907. A year later, after the economic collapse, the picture was completely reversed, yet no one admitted that prohibition had caused the Crash and Panic or that repeal was the logical response. The same thing happened in 2007. After George Waffen Bush’s prohibitionist asset forfeiture destroyed the economy, States began removing the cause… and being real quiet about the causal connection between that and the symptom.
    Some things aren’t a coincidence at all.

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  12. I have to imagine that MT will pass, but then it is a question of what the legislature will do in response. In 2004 Medical Marijuana passed by referendum., However the state legislature turned around and passed a law effectively overturning the vote of the people. The State Supreme court then ruled that the Legislature could not over rule a popular vote, making it legal again. However the Legislature decided it had the authority to regulate it, so it passed regulations that made it legal in theory only.

    I would guess that come Nov many in the legislature will be looking at how they can make it a symbolic law once again. But, attitudes nation wide have shifted so maybe not.

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  14. In the meantime, if in any of those states a neighbor tosses some seeds over the fence and they sprout on your lawn, the Political State can confiscate your home through DemoGOP asset forfeiture and leave you on the hook for the mortgage. It doesn’t matter that you spotted the weed, mowed the lawn, bagged the clippings and sent them to a landfill. If a cop dog sniffs those stems, the stems, the roots and all dirt clinging to them will be weighed as cultivated marijuana for asset forfeiture and mandatory minimum sentencing. Legalization initiatives are on the ballot because of libertarian party spoiler votes scaring the crap out of fanatical prohibitionists these past 44 years. Both the Dem and Republican parties routinely confiscate homes and move the owners to prison or under a bridge. BOTH looter platforms promise to keep it up as long as possible.

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