Voters in five states will vote on legalizing marijuana


This April 6, 2018, file photo shows the leaves of a marijuana plant inside Ultra Health’s cultivation greenhouse in Bernalillo, N.M. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan, File)

(NewsNation) — In five states, voters will have the chance to make their opinion on legalized marijuana heard.

Maryland, South Dakota, Missouri, Arkansas and North Dakota all have referendums that would legalize marijuana for adults age 21 and over.

Use the “Change Race” drop-down menu to see the results of different marijuana ballot items in different states.

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Marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, though President Joe Biden made moves to loosen federal restrictions. He pardoned federal prisoners convicted of low-level drug offenses and called on his administration to re-examine how it is classified.

Currently, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug, which means it has no valid medical use and a high potential for abuse. Other schedule I drugs include ecstasy, LSD and heroin.

Moving marijuana to a lower classification would potentially open the door for prescribed medical use, however the decision of how a drug is classified ultimately comes from the Drug Enforcement Agency, not the president.

Meanwhile, states are acting on their own and allowing voters to weigh in on weed.

Currently, 19 states plus Washington D.C. and Guam allow the use of recreational marijuana. When it comes to medical use of marijuana, 37 states have decriminalized the drug.

All of the states with recreational marijuana on the ballot, except for Maryland, voted for Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.

The five states also currently have legal medical marijuana programs. That includes Arkansas, which in 2016 became the first Bible Belt state to approve medical marijuana. The state’s dispensaries opened in 2019, and more than 91,000 patients have cards to legally buy marijuana for medical conditions.

Maryland voters will be weighing in on a constitutional amendment that would legalize marijuana for adults 21 and over, while also giving the General Assembly authority over distribution, use and taxation.

South Dakota’s measure would allow adults to possess up to one ounce of marijuana for recreational use and allow individuals who live in a jurisdiction without a licensed marijuana store to grow up to three plants for personal use.

Missouri’s initiative would amend the state constitution to allow for personal use and production of marijuana for adults, enact a six percent tax and pardon people with certain marijuana-related offenses.

Arkansas is also voting on a constitutional amendment that would allow adults to possess up to one ounce of marijuana, implement a 10 percent tax and direct the state’s Alcohol and Beverage Control agency to regulate the drug.

North Dakota voters will be voting on whether or not to allow adults to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow up to three plants for personal use.

Polls show 68 percent of Americans support legalizing marijuana for adults, and believe it is less problematic than alcohol or tobacco. Support is highest among Democrats, where 76 percent are in favor, but more than half of the Republicans surveyed also supported legalization.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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