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Fall Election Primer: What States Could Legalize

fall election primer states legalize

Medical marijuana use is legal in 39 states across the country whereas marijuana for recreational use is legal in 19 states. It stands to reason the predominant effort for this fall’s ballot referendum is marijuana legalization for adult use. The referendums that qualify for the ballot have a strong chance of passing, considering the increasing public support for marijuana legalization. 

Although, due to the history of courts overturning the will of voters, nothing can be promised. Here are the details of the upcoming potential marijuana legalization ballot measures.


referendum constitutional amendment



The Arkansas population may participate in a referendum for a constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana for recreational use and adult sales. The ballot measure proposes each existing medical marijuana business would be able to open an additional adult-use-only store. After the recreational marijuana legalization is underway, the market would then increase with 40 additional store licenses awarded by lottery and 12 additional cultivation licenses. In addition, over and above local and state sales tax, a 10% retail tax on recreational marijuana products would be implemented. However, a legal challenge regarding the ballot title may prevent the referendum from running.


Maryland voters can expect a referendum for a constitutional amendment on recreational marijuana. The aim is to regulate the cannabis market by establishing and enacting additional legislation should voters approve the measure. The referendum will take place July 1, 2023. 


Similarly, a constitutional amendment for the legalization of recreational cannabis use will be placed before Missouri voters. The key details of the measure are existing medical marijuana operators would be able to convert their licenses to adult use. 300 days following the effective date, a lottery system will issue 32 microbusiness wholesale licenses and 16 microbusiness dispensary licenses. An additional 96 microbusiness licenses will be issued over the following 18 months. These licenses will be targeted toward low-income residents, particularly to war veterans and people living in high-poverty communities. A 6% retail sales tax will be imposed in addition to an optional 3% local tax. The expected sales start is still to be determined.

North Dakota

The November ballot in North Dakota will include a Statute initiative for legalizing recreational marijuana. The measures detail; 18 retail licenses and seven manufacturing licenses will be awarded. A competitive process with specific criteria will determine the licensing. An individual or organization will not be able to own more than four stores or stores within 20 miles of another, nor hold an ownership position in more than one manufacturing operation.


Oklahoma holds potential for the legalization of recreational marijuana, as state election officials are reviewing a recent petition calling for an adult-use commercial market. The measure details stipulate the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority will be responsible for regulating and licensing the emerging recreational marijuana industry. There will be five types of licenses issued: grower, processor, dispensary, transporter and marijuana testing facility. The regulation of business will be upheld by local governments, but they will not have the power to prohibit or limit them. A 15% tax will be set for marijuana sales.


The only state on the map this time around that will be calling for medical marijuana legalization. The measures state a Nebraska Medical Cannabis Commision will establish rules and regulations, including licensing criteria by July 1, 2023. The granting of the licenses will then begin on Oct. 1, 2023. The expected sales start is still to be determined.


Nebraska Medical Cannabis Commision will establish rules


Marijuana legalization efforts don’t end in these key states. Florida has goals set for adult-use legalization in 2024 after the failed ballot proposal of this year. Ohio is also priming to pave the way to recreational marijuana use in the near future.

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