With cannabis reform becoming more of a bipartisan issue in recent years, some of the more traditionally conservative states are taking a stab at adult-use legalization in the Nov. 8, 2022, election.

Voters in Arkansas, Missouri, North Dakota and South Dakota will decide the fate of cannabis reform this Election Day. In addition, Maryland’s Democratic-controlled General Assembly prepared an adult-use cannabis question for its voters, too.

Since the 1980s, voters in 22 states have decided 73 cannabis-related ballot measures.

That stretch includes Oregon’s unsuccessful decriminalization proposal (Measure 5) in 1986; California’s passage of medical cannabis legalization in 1996; Colorado and Washington’s adult-use legalization wins in 2012; and a clean, five-state sweep of reform in 2020.

To date, voters in 13 states have approved adult-use legalization measures since 2012 (although South Dakota’s 2020 passage was overturned). Another five states have the opportunity to do so this Election Day (including, once again, South Dakota).

Arkansas, where voters passed medical cannabis on a second attempt with a 53% majority in 2016, will be voting on Issue 4 this Tuesday. While early signs showed a majority in support of the initiative, pollsters from the University of Arkansas revealed Nov. 3 that 59% of likely voters surveyed Oct. 13-31 opposed the measure.

In Maryland, where voters will decide their first statewide cannabis-related ballot measure this Tuesday, Question 4 appears to be a shoo-in for passage with 63% of likely voters surveyed Oct. 20-23 supporting the measure, according to a poll from Baltimore Sun Media and the University of Baltimore.

In Missouri, where Amendment 3 will allow voters to legalize adult-use cannabis four years after they passed medical reform, an Emerson College Polling/The Hill survey of likely voters conducted Oct. 26-28 showed 47% in support and 39% opposed to the measure. But a SurveyUSA poll conducted Oct. 27-Nov. 1 showed 61% of likely voters “certain to vote yes” and 28% of voters opposed.

In North Dakota, where voters were 59.5% opposed to a 2018 adult-use ballot measure, those voters have a shot at redemption via Initiated Statutory Measure No. 2 on Tuesday. There are no known statewide polls surveying likely voters on adult-use cannabis ahead of this Election Day.

And in South Dakota, where voters already passed adult-use cannabis legalization with a 54% majority in 2020 before the state’s Supreme Court overturned those results, Initiated Measure 27 will give voters a second chance on Tuesday. According to a survey of likely voters conducted Sept. 28-Oct. 10 by South Dakota State University, 47% opposed the 2022 measure, 45% supported it and 8% were undecided.

The team at Cannabis Business Times will be providing election coverage throughout the evening on Nov. 8. Be sure to follow along here.


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