Which States Are Going To Be Voting On Marijuana Reform In November 2016?
It’s nearly the end of ‘signature gathering season’ across America for initiatives, with some states already having passed the final deadline to turn in signatures. As such, the dust is staring to settle and the picture is becoming clearer as to which states will be voting on either medical marijuana or recreational marijuana legalization. There are some states that still have signature gathering efforts underway, with some states looking more likely than others to meet the signature requirements. Below are states that have either made the ballot, are likely to make the ballot, or get an honorable mention for having efforts still underway with the final deadline to turn in signatures fast approaching:
California – The Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) campaign has turned in enough signatures that it will likely be on the ballot in California in November. The initiative would legalize the possession of one ounce of marijuana flower, or up to four grams of cannabis concentrates for those 21 years and older. The cultivation of up to six plants would also be legalized, in addition to hemp production and a taxed and regulated system for a recreational marijuana industry.
Nevada – Nevada voters will see marijuana legalization on the ballot in November. The initiative would legalize the possession of one ounce for those 21 years and older, and a taxed and regulated recreational cannabis industry. Anyone who does not live within 25 miles of a marijuana store would be allowed to grow up to six marijuana plants.
Maine – An initiative in Maine, which originally had been determined to not have enough valid signatures to make the ballot, will indeed appear on the November ballot after the campaign successfully sued to get some invalid signatures validated. The initiated legalizes the possession of up to 2 1/2 ounces of marijuana and legalize the possession, cultivate, and transportation of up to ‘6 flowering marijuana plants, 12 immature marijuana plants and unlimited seedlings, and possess all the marijuana produced by the marijuana plants at that person’s residence’ for those 21 years and older. The initiative would also create a taxed and regulated recreational cannabis industry.
Arizona – The ’Legalization and Regulation of Marijuana Act‘ initiative should be on the ballot in Arizona this November. The signature deadline isn’t until July 7th, and signature gathering efforts have been going strong. The initiative would legalize the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for those 21 years and older. Additionally, the initiative would create a taxed and regulated recreational cannabis industry. The initiative ‘allows adults to grow up to six marijuana plants in an enclosed, locked space within their residences and possess the marijuana produced by those plants in the location where it was grown. No more than 12 total marijuana plants can be grown in a single residence.’
Massachusetts – An initiative to regulate and tax marijuana like alcohol in Massachusetts should be on the November ballot. The initiative met the initial requirement to put the issue before the Massachusetts Legislature, which punted on the issue. Campaign organizers have to gather a little over 10,000 signatures by June 22nd, which I don’t see being an issue. The initiative would create a taxed and regulated recreational cannabis industry. The initiative ‘allows adults 21 years of age and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana outside of their residences and up to 10 ounces of marijuana in an enclosed, locked space within their residences.’ The initiative also allows ‘allows adults 21 years of age and older to grow up to six marijuana plants in an enclosed, locked space within their residences and possess the marijuana produced by those plants in the location where it was grown. No more than 12 total marijuana plants can be grown in a single residence.’
Florida – Florida will be voting on medical marijuana for the second election cycle in a row. Florida saw medical marijuana narrowly defeated (2 percent) in 2014. The campaign is back with a better initiative, and has the benefit of knowing the pitfalls to avoid and how to better leverage what works this time around. The initiative legalizes the ’medical use of marijuana for individuals with debilitating medical conditions as determined by a licensed Florida physician. Allows caregivers to assist patients’ medical use of marijuana. The Department of Health shall register and regulate centers that produce and distribute marijuana for medical purposes and shall issue identification cards to patients and caregivers.’
Missouri – New Approach Missouri has turned in a significant amount of signatures, and if the signature validation rate goes well, Missouri voters should see medical marijuana on the ballot. Roughly 167,000 valid signatures are needed, and the campaign turned in roughly 250,000 total signatures according to media reports. That means there would need to be between a 66-67% validation rate. Looking at historical validation rates for other initiatives in recent history, that’s about in the middle of what has occurred, so there’s a great chance the initiative will make it.
Michigan – The MILegalize campaign has had a spot in my heart since the very first announcement of the campaign. I have always rooted for Michigan, and for reasons that are unknown to me, and don’t make sense to me, the Michigan campaign went the entire way without any significant help from the national level. The campaign turned in hundred of thousands of signatures, and while it will take a pretty high signatures validation rate, I’m still personally hopeful that the recreational marijuana legalization initiative will make the ballot. The MILegalize team did an outstanding job, and I tip my hat to everyone involved. The grassroots movement in Michigan is strong, and I look forward to anything and everything that comes out of there. Go get ’em Michigan!
Honorable mentions – Arkansas and North Dakota are currently gathering signatures. Arkansas has an August 25 deadline for the Secretary of State to certify initiatives, and the deadline for signature gathering in North Dakota is July 11th Those are two states to keep an eye on. It’s tough to say whether they will meet the deadline at this time, but are within striking distance if they received enough help!