Marijuana Is On the Ballot Today
Marijuana Is On the Ballot TodayNovember 6th, 2018 by Cindy Perlin
While it’s garnered little notice nationally recently, the results of this election will affect the availability of marijuana in some states and, ultimately, nationwide. Utah and Missouri voters will have an opportunity to weigh in on medical marijuana, while voters in Michigan and North Dakota will be deciding whether to approve adult recreational use of cannabis. Ohio and Wisconsin are considering decriminalization.
At the federal level, U.S. Representative Earl Blumenhauer (D-Oregon) has vowed to introduce federal legislation to fully legalize marijuana if the Democrats take control of the House in this election. House Republicans have been the most resistant to legalization, so a shift to a majority Democratic Congress would make it more likely that this legislation would pass.
Don’t know where your local candidates stand on the issue of marijuana legalization for medical and/or recreational use? Fortunately, the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) has a guide to state and congressional candidates HERE.
Many research studies have demonstrated the beneficial effects of marijuana for pain relief. Many pain patients report they get equal or better relief from marijuana than from opioids, without the risk of physical addiction or overdose. Marijuana, when used together with opioids, prevents the development of tolerance, which prevents the development of addiction, and provides better relief than with opioids alone.
If you’re a pain patient or care about one, please take your candidate’s position on the issued of marijuana legalization into account when you decide how to cast your vote.
More Information on State Initiatives
Proposal 1 would legalize marijuana for adults 21 and over. Cannabis flower, concentrates and edibles would be permitted and adults would be allowed to grow up to 12 plants at home. An October 26 poll found that 57% of adults supported the proposal. The Detroit Free Press is urging voters to approve the measure.
North Dakota is considering Measure 3, or the Marijuana Legalization and Automatic Expungement Initiative, which would bring about full adult-use legalization, including homegrow. Recent filings show opponents of the measure out-raising proponents by a nearly 4–1 margin.
Opinion polls have fluctuated widely over the last few months, making the outcome very unpredictable. Most of North Dakota’s law enforcement agencies, pharmacy and medical organizations have come out against the law, as have most business groups. North Dakota legalized medical marijuana in 2016.
Utah voters will get to cast their votes on Proposition 2, a measure to legalize medical marijuana. If the proposal doesn’t pass, a compromise bill agreed to by both supporters and opponents to legalize medical marijuana will be introduced in the state legislature. The legislative proposal would be less liberal than the ballot initiative, with no homegrown allowed and a limit on the number of dispensaries allowed.
The Mormon Church has come out against Proposition 2. In recent polling a slim majority supported the bill.
Voters in Missouri have three legalization measures to consider: Proposition C, Amendment 2 and Amendment 3. All would legalize medical marijuana for various medical conditions. Proposition C is a state law, which the legislature could change at any time. The Amendments would change the state constitution, so that subsequent changes would have to pass a public vote.
All three amendments had over 62% support in mid-October, with little to no organized opposition. Amendment 2 had the most support and the fewest opposed.
In Ohio, voters will get to cast their ballots for or against State Issue 1, a decriminalization measure. An effort to legalize marijuana in 2015 failed, so this time reformers are trying for a more modest goal. State Issue 1 would downgrade crimes for low-level drug offenses to misdemeanors. Possession, purchase, or consumption of cannabis would be a misdemeanor penalized by probation only—no jail time—while distributing cannabis would remain a felony. It’s an effort to reduce Ohio’s prison population and shift towards treatment instead of incarceration.
Proponents are a diverse coalition which includes Newt Gingrich, the ACLU, Mark Zuckerberg and the CEO of Netflix. Most Ohio politicians oppose the measure, including outgoing Governor John Kasich and Mike DeWine, the Republican running to replace him. Richard Cordray, the Democrat running for Ohio Governor, supports Issue 1.
Recent polling indicates a slim majority of Ohio voters support decriminalization.
Please go out and vote today. Remember to vote based on the candidate’s positions on the issues that matter to you most, not just based on party labels.
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