Cannabis adult use will expand to two more states, Maryland and Missouri, according to unofficial election results following yesterday’s voting. Efforts to pass ballot measures in three other states, Arkansas, South Dakota, and North Dakota, failed, sometimes by narrow margins. In both of the Dakotas, the measures failed by fewer than 20,000 votes.
Campaign polling had shown likely victories In the two states where adult use referendums passed. But a September poll in Arkansas had predicted likely passage, while both of the Dakotas had no statewide public polling on the issue.
Maryland and Missouri’s referendums have dramatically different approaches to legalization. In Maryland, the referendum directs the state’s General Assembly to author and pass legislation creating a structure for adult use production and retail sales. It may not be until 2024 when legal adult sales begin in Maryland.
However, in Missouri extremely detailed aspects of the measure are now embedded in the state constitution, unable to be amended without a follow up popular referendum. Because many of the details of the law are set in stone, adult use sales may begin in Missouri by mid-2023, as all existing medical dispensaries will receive adult use licenses.