5 States Voted on Legalizing Marijuana on Election Day 2022: What You Need to Know

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Legalizing recreational marijuana was on the ballot in five states on Tuesday as midterm elections took place across the country.

Voters in Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota and South Dakota had a chance to join 19 other states and the District of Columbia, which have already legalized recreational marijuana over the last decade. Each of those five states had already legalized marijuana for medical use.

The votes were cast amid a push to relax marijuana policies in the U.S., including at the federal level. Last month, President Joe Biden announced pardons for simple marijuana possession offenders, and urged the Secretary of Health and Human Services to review how marijuana is scheduled as a drug under federal law.

Here's a look at each of the different proposals:

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Issue 4 on the Arkansas ballot sought to pave the way to legalize marijuana for recreational use, beginning March 8, 2023. The state previously legalized medical marijuana in 2016.

It did not pass. With 92% of the votes counted by Wednesday morning, more than 56% opposed the measure, according to results reported by The New York Times.

The proposed legislation faced opposition from figures such as Gov. Asa Hutchinson and gubernatorial frontrunner, Republican Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who won her race by more than 60 points.

In October, Hutchinson tweeted that Issue 4 "is the wrong direction for Arkansas." Earlier that month, Huckabee Sanders said she couldn't support the measure "with the drug epidemic that we have across this state," according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

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In addition to making it possible for people to legally purchase marijuana from licensed facilities, the amendment would have permitted adults 21 and over to posses up to an ounce of marijuana, Axois reported.

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Voters in Maryland chose to legalize recreational marijuana in their state by supporting Question 4, which passed on Tuesday, allowing adults 21 and older to purchase and consume cannabis beginning July 1, 2023.

With 61% of the votes in on Tuesday night, more than 65% voted in favor of the measure, according to results reported by The New York Times.

Adults will be allowed to possess 1.5 ounces of marijuana or two plants under the new law, which allows for expungement for people with marijuana possession arrests on their record, according to CNBC.

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Maryland joins the District of Columbia and Virginia in legalizing recreational marijuana in its region of the U.S. The results in Maryland were not surprising: polls showed voters overwhelmingly supported the ballot measure, with 73% of respondents signaling their approval in a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll from September.


Voters in Missouri also approved the legalization of recreational marijuana with a "yes" vote on Amendment 3. With 89% of the votes counted, a little more than 53% were in support of the change.

Marijuana sales will come with a 6% tax, according to the proposal.

Additionally, some individuals with marijuana-related offenses on their record will be allowed to have their records expunged and, if need be, petition for their release from prison, parole or probation.

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Polls suggested voters were leaning toward legalization, with 48% voicing their support for Amendment 3 in a September poll by Emerson College Polling and The Hill, compared to 35% who were opposed.

North Dakota

In North Dakota, a "yes" vote on Measure 2 was a vote in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana in the state. But with about 95% of the votes in on Wednesday morning, almost 55% were "no" votes, according to results reported by the Times, which indicated that the measure failed.

This is the second time the state has tried to legalize marijuana, following a failed attempt in 2018.

Had it passed, adults would have been allowed to purchase up to an ounce of marijuana at once and have three cannabis plants at home, according to the proposal. Up to 18 retailers and seven cultivation facilities would have been allowed to operate in the state, and a 5% cannabis excise tax would have been applied.

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South Dakota

Voters in South Dakota also opted not to legalize recreational marijuana Tuesday via Measure 27, which proposed allowing possession and home-growth.

With about 95% of the results in, nearly 53% were against the measure, according to the Times.

Individuals would have been permitted to hold up to an ounce of pot and up to three plants at home, according to the measure, had it passed.

South Dakota voters previously approved marijuana legalization in 2020, but it was later struck down by the state's Supreme Court, per ABC News.