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Voters In Seven States Will See These Marijuana Questions On Election Day

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When voters head to the polls in November, they won’t just be deciding on U.S. senators, members of Congress, governors and other elected officials. They’ll also be voting on a number of far-reaching marijuana ballot initiatives.

Some concern full marijuana legalization and others would allow medical cannabis, while one is about the definition of hemp. Some are statewide measures and others are local in nature. Some are constitutional amendments, while others are statutory changes. And some are binding as compared to others that are advisory measures which simple give voters a chance to express their opinions to elected officials.

All told, there are 36 separate major cannabis reform measures on the ballot next month, across seven states (in addition to a larger number of local marijuana tax and licensing proposals).

While the campaigns for and against each measure will work to distribute variety of messages in advance of Election Day through mediums like TV ads, robocalls, email blasts and social media, a significant number of voters won’t make up their minds until they have their ballots in hand.

With that in mind, here’s a list of the actual cannabis questions that voters will see when they have a chance to make up their minds on November 6.

STATEWIDE MEASURES

COLORADO

Amendment X – Hemp Definition

Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution concerning changing the industrial hemp definition from a constitutional definition to a statutory definition?

○ YES/FOR

○ NO/AGAINST

MICHIGAN

Proposal 1 – Marijuana Legalization

A proposed initiated law to authorize and legalize possession, use and cultivation of marijuana products by individuals who are at least 21 years of age and older, and commercial sales of marijuana through state-licensed retailers

This proposal would:

· Allow individuals 21 and older to purchase, possess and use marijuana and marijuana-infused edibles, and grow up to 12 marijuana plants for personal consumption.

· Impose a 10-ounce limit for marijuana kept at residences and require amounts over 2.5 ounces be secured in locked containers.

· Create a state licensing system for marijuana businesses and allow municipalities to ban or restrict them.

· Permit retail sales of marijuana and edibles subject to a 10% tax, dedicated to implementation costs, clinical trials, schools, roads, and municipalities where marijuana businesses are located.

· Change several current violations from crimes to civil infractions.

Should this proposal be adopted?

[ ] YES

[ ] NO

NORTH DAKOTA

Measure 3 – Marijuana Legalization

This initiated measure would amend the North Dakota Century Code by removing hashish, marijuana, and tetrahydrocannabinols from the list of schedule I controlled substances in section 19-03.1-05. It would create chapter 66-01, which would define the terms marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia and prohibit prosecution of any person over the age of 21 for any non-violent marijuana related activity (including growing, manufacturing, distributing, selling, or testing marijuana) or drug paraphernalia relating to any nonviolent marijuana activity, except for the sale of marijuana to a person under the age of 21. Any language in the North Dakota Century Code that conflicts with chapter 66-01, including the prohibitions on prosecution, is nullified and repealed. The measure also would add penalties for individuals under the age of twenty-one in possession of, or attempting to distribute, marijuana; and provide penalties for individuals who distribute marijuana to anyone under the age of twenty-one. It would amend the definition of drug paraphernalia in section 19-03.4-01 to apply only to non-marijuana controlled substances. It would amend section 25-03.1-45 to require the automatic expungement of the record of an individual who has a drug conviction for a controlled substance that has been legalized; create an appeals process for an individual who believes the state did not expunge a record properly; and eliminate the state’s sovereign immunity for damages resulting from expungement lawsuits.

○ YES – means you approve the measure summarized above.

○ NO – means you reject the measure summarized above.

MISSOURI

Amendment 2 – Medical Cannabis

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:

  • allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes, and create regulations and licensing/certification procedures for marijuana and marijuana facilities;
  • impose a 4 percent tax on the retail sale of marijuana; and
  • use funds from these taxes for health and care services for military veterans by the Missouri Veterans Commission and to administer the program to license/certify and regulate marijuana and marijuana facilities?

This proposal is estimated to generate annual taxes and fees of $18 million for state operating costs and veterans programs, and $6 million for local governments. Annual state operating costs are estimated to be $7 million.

○ YES

○ NO

Amendment 3 – Medical Cannabis

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:

  • allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes, and create regulations and licensing procedures for marijuana and marijuana facilities;
  • impose a 15 percent tax on the retail sale of marijuana, and a tax on the wholesale sale of marijuana flowers and leaves per dry-weight ounce to licensed facilities; and
  • use funds from these taxes to establish and fund a state research institute to conduct research with the purpose of developing cures and treatments for cancer and other incurable diseases or medical conditions?

This proposal is estimated to generate annual taxes and fees of $66 million. State governmental entities estimate initial implementation costs of $186,000 and increased annual operating costs of $500,000.

○ YES

○ NO

Proposition C – Medical Cannabis

Do you want to amend Missouri law to:

  • remove state prohibitions on personal use and possession of medical cannabis (marijuana) with a written certification by a physician who treats a patient diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition;
  • remove state prohibitions on growth, possession, production, and sale of medical marijuana by licensed and regulated facilities, and a facility’s licensed owners and employees;
  • impose a 2% tax on the retail sale of medical marijuana; and
  • use funds from this tax for veterans’ services, drug treatment, early childhood education, and for public safety in cities with a medical marijuana facility?

State government entities estimate initial and one-time costs of $2.6 million, annual costs of $10 million, and annual revenues of at least $10 million. Local government entities estimate no annual costs and are expected to have at least $152,000 in annual revenues.

○ YES

○ NO

UTAH

Proposition 2 – Medical Cannabis

Shall a law be enacted to:

• establish a state-controlled process that allows persons with certain illnesses to acquire and use medical cannabis and, in certain limited circumstances, to grow up to six cannabis plants for personal medical use;

• authorize the establishment of facilities that grow, process, test, or sell medical cannabis and require those facilities to be licensed by the state; and

• establish state controls on those licensed facilities, including:

o electronic systems that track cannabis inventory and purchases; and

o requirements and limitations on the packaging and advertising of cannabis and on the types of products allowed?

☐ FOR

☐ AGAINST

LOCAL MEASURES

OHIO – Marijuana Decriminalization

Dayton:

Shall the Dayton Revised Code of General Ordinances be amended to decriminalize specific misdemeanor marijuana and hashish offenses?

○ YES

○ NO

Fremont:

Shall the proposed Sensible Marihuana Ordinance which lowers the penalty for misdemeanor marijuana offenses to the lowest penalty allowed by state law be adopted?

○ YES

○ NO

Garrettsville:

Shall the proposed ordinance to lower the penalties for misdemeanor marihuana offenses to the lowest penalties allowed by state law be adopted?

○ YES

○ NO

Norwood:

Shall the proposed ordinance adding Section 513.15 Marijuana Laws and Penalties to the City of Norwood Municipal Code, which would lower the penalty for misdemeanor marijuana offenses to the lowest penalty allowed by state law, be adopted?

○ YES

○ NO

Oregon:

Shall the proposed Sensible Marihuana Ordinance which lowers the penalty for misdemeanor marijuana offenses to the lowest penalty allowed by state law be adopted?

○ YES

○ NO

Windham:

Shall the proposed ordinance to lower the penalties for misdemeanor marihuana offenses to the lowest penalties allowed by state law be adopted?

○ YES

○ NO

WISCONSIN – Marijuana Advisory Questions

Brown County:

Should cannabis be legalized in Wisconsin for medicinal purposes, and regulated in the same manner as other prescription drugs?

○ YES

○ NO

Clark County:

Should the State of Wisconsin legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes and regulate its use in the same manner as other prescription drugs?

○ YES

○ NO

Dane County:

Should marijuana be legalized, taxed and regulated in the same manner as alcohol for adults 21 years of age or older?

○ YES

○ NO

Eau Claire County:

Should cannabis:

__ (a) Be legal for adult, 21years of age and older, recreational or medical use, taxed and regulated like alcohol, with the proceeds from the taxes used for education, healthcare, and infrastructure in Wisconsin?

__ (b) Be legal for medical purposes only and available only by prescription through a medical dispensary?

__ (c) Remain a criminally illegal drug as provided under current law?

Forest County:

Should the State of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical purposes, if those individuals have a written recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?

○ YES

○ NO

Kenosha County:

Should the State of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical purposes, if those individuals have a written recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?

○ YES

○ NO

La Crosse County:

Should the State of Wisconsin legalize the use of marijuana by adults 21 years or older, to be taxed and regulated in the same manner that alcohol is regulated in the State of Wisconsin, with proceeds from taxes used for education, healthcare, and infrastructure?

○ YES

○ NO

Langlade County:

Should the State of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical purposes, if those individuals have a written recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?

○ YES

○ NO

Lincoln County:

Should the State of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical purposes, if those individuals have a written recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?

○ YES

○ NO

Marathon County:

Should the State of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical purposes, if those individuals have a written recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?

○ YES

○ NO

Marquette County:

Shall the County of Marquette, Wisconsin, adopt the following resolution? Resolved, that “We the People” of Marquette County, Wisconsin, support the right of its citizens to acquire, possess and use medical cannabis upon the recommendation of a licensed physician, and; Be It Further Resolved, that we strongly support a statewide referendum requesting Wisconsin to join with thirty-two (32) other states that have already approved the use of medical cannabis for the treatment of chronic pain, several debilitating diseases and disabling symptoms.

○ YES

○ NO

Milwaukee County:

Do you favor allowing adults 21 years of age and older to engage in the personal use of marijuana, while also regulating commercial marijuana-related activities, and imposing a tax on the sale of marijuana?

○ YES

○ NO

Portage County:

Should the State of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical [treatment] purposes, if those individuals have a written [treatment] recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?

○ YES

○ NO

Racine County:

Should marijuana be legalized for medicinal use?

○ YES

○ NO

Should marijuana be legalized, taxed, and regulated in the same manner as alcohol for adults 21 years of age or older?

○ YES

○ NO

Should proceeds from marijuana taxes be used to fund education, health care, and infrastructure?

○ YES

○ NO

Rock County

Should cannabis be legalized for adult use, taxed and regulated like alcohol, with the proceeds from the Taxes used for education, healthcare, and infrastructure?

○ YES

○ NO

Sauk County:

Should the state of Wisconsin legalize medical marijuana so that people with debilitating medical conditions may access medical marijuana if they have a prescription from a licenses Wisconsin physician?

○ YES

○ NO

City of Racine:

Should cannabis be legalized for adult recreational use in Wisconsin?

○ YES

○ NO

Should cannabis be legalized for medical use in Wisconsin?

○ YES

○ NO

Should cannabis sales be taxed and the revenue from such taxes be used for public education, health care, and infrastructure in Wisconsin?

○ YES

○ NO

Should cannabis be decriminalized in the State of Wisconsin?

○ YES

○ NO

City of Waukesha: Should cannabis be legalized in Wisconsin for medicinal purposes, and regulated in the same manner as other prescription drugs?

○ YES

○ NO

OTHER MEASURES

Voters in a number of counties and municipalities in states with some form of legalization will have a chance to decide on local measures setting marijuana tax rates or to allow or ban commercial cannabis activity. There are far too many of these measures to compile here, so you should use your state or county elections website to take a look at your sample ballot before you head to the polls.

This piece was first published by Forbes.

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.

Tom Angell is the editor of Marijuana Moment. A 15-year veteran in the cannabis law reform movement, he covers the policy and politics of marijuana. Separately, he founded the nonprofit Marijuana Majority. Previously he reported for Marijuana.com and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy. (Organization citations are for identification only and do not constitute an endorsement or partnership.)

Politics

Watch Live: Senate Committee Holds Hearing On Marijuana And Health

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The U.S. Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control is scheduled to discuss the health effects of marijuana at a hearing on Wednesday afternoon.

The event—titled “Marijuana and America’s Health: Questions and Issues for Policy Makers”—will feature testimony from Surgeon General Jerome Adams and National Institute On Drug Abuse Director Nora Volkow, along with several academics.

Watch the Senate marijuana hearing below:

In a Senate floor speech on Tuesday in which he previewed the hearing, caucus co-chair Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) compared claims about cannabis’s medical benefits to decades-old ads about tobacco.

“There’s no shortage of people who claim that marijuana has endless health benefits and can help patients struggling from everything from epilepsy to anxiety to cancer treatments,” he said. “This reminds me of some of the advertising we saw from the tobacco industry years ago where they actually claimed public health benefits from smoking tobacco, which we know as a matter of fact were false and that tobacco contains nicotine, an addictive drug, and is implicated with cancers of different kinds.”

In August, Cornyn said that he wanted to hold a hearing focused on cannabis’s health effects before the Senate moves to consider a proposal to allow state-legal businesses to access banking services. A bill to do so passed the House of Representatives last month and Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID) says he’d like to advance similar legislation by the end of the year, though he has indicated he wants some changes to the version approved by the other chamber.

The narcotics panel hosting the health hearing is also co-chaired by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who has long opposed broad marijuana reform. She did cosponsor a bill to let states set their own cannabis laws without federal interference during the course of her reelection campaign last year, but has not yet signed onto a new version filed in the current Congress.

Federal Court Dismisses Suit Against DEA Over Marijuana Growing Applications

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UK Parliament Committee Endorses Decriminalizing Drugs

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A UK House of Commons panel is calling on the government to decriminalize drugs and adopt other harm reduction approaches to address a growing overdose crisis.

“We recommend a radical change in UK drugs policy from a criminal justice to a health approach. A health focused and harm reduction approach would not only benefit those who are using drugs but reduce harm to and the costs for their wider communities,” reads a report issued on Wednesday by the Health and Social Care Committee. “Decriminalisation of possession for personal use saves money from the criminal justice system that is more effectively invested in prevention and treatment.”

“Every drug death is avoidable. However, the United Kingdom, and in particular Scotland, have amongst the highest drug death rates in Europe. The evidence we have heard leads us to conclude that UK drugs policy is failing.”

The panel said that decriminalization alone “will not be effective without investing in holistic harm reduction, support and treatment services for drug addiction.” To that end, it is also voicing support for syringe exchange programs, drug checking services, naloxone, safe consumption facilities and heroin assisted treatment—components that it says “can all play an important role in preventing deaths amongst drug users as well as protecting their communities by reducing the harm from discarded syringes and drug related crime.”

The committee also wants to move responsibility for drug policy from the Home office, which handles crime, to the Department of Health and Social Care. “We strongly recommend this move,” the report says.

When it comes to the proposal to remove criminal penalties for drug possession, the committee wrote about witnessing the success of that policy in Portugal, where it was enacted in 2001.

“On our visit to Portugal we saw a system marked by a positive attitude to service users which recognised the impact that chaotic lifestyles could have on engagement with support and treatment,” the report says. “There was a striking ethos of holistic, non-judgemental treatment and access to services focused on the needs of individuals rather than the convenience of the system.”

The lawmakers said that UK-based treatment professions share “a similar ethos, but their capacity to deliver is compromised by inadequate funding and the policy framework.”

The Portuguese model, they write, has “had an impact on stigma” and has led to a “dramatic drop in drug related deaths…without significant increases in drug use.”

“All those we met in Portugal involved in this policy area were very positive about their model,” the lawmakers said. “On introduction, there had been significant opposition, but there is now political consensus and nobody would want to go back. Some of those we met were now of the view that the next step should be legalisation and regulation, to enable the generation of taxation revenue and quality control.”

“Efforts to improve the unacceptably high rates of drug-related deaths would be strengthened by explicitly reframing drug use as a health rather than a criminal justice issue.”

The panel’s report also recounts how members toured supervised drug consumption facilities in Frankfurt, Germany, and recommends that they be “piloted in areas of high need” in the UK.

“Police representatives told us that these facilities should not be viewed simply as allowing people to take illicit drugs–they are about safety, stopping drug overdoses, and very importantly, providing access to a wraparound of other services to eventually stop that person’s drug use,” they wrote. “Harm reduction approaches such as [drug consumption rooms] reduce the wider harms to local communities as well as for those using drugs.”

A government spokesperson rejected the committee’s recommendation to remove criminal penalties for low-level drug offenses, saying that it “would not eliminate the crime committed by the illicit trade, nor would it address the harms associated with drug dependence and the misery that this can cause to families and communities.”

But Dr. Sarah Wollaston MP, chair of the Health and Social Care Committee, said that “a holistic approach centered on improving the health of and reducing the harm faced by drug users, as well as increasing the treatment available, must be a priority going forward.”

“This approach would not only benefit those who are dependent on drugs but benefit their wider communities,” she said in a press release. “The Government should learn lessons from the international experience, including places like Portugal and Frankfurt. It should consult on the decriminalisation of drug possession for personal use from a criminal offence to a civil matter. Decriminalisation alone would not be sufficient. There needs to be a radical upgrade in treatment and holistic care for those who are dependent on drugs and this should begin without delay.”

James Nichols, CEO of the pro-reform Transform Drug Policy Foundation, praised the report but also suggested its recommendations didn’t go far enough in that they would leave the market unregulated by simply decriminalizing possession.

“We need to think about drugs as a health issue, not a criminal justice agenda. This isn’t simply a matter of thinking differently. It’s about creating an entirely new policy landscape. It means action, not just words,” he wrote in a blog post. “Decriminalisation is essential in moving drug policy away from the simplistic, ineffective and often prejudicial approach we have today. Ultimately, though, we need to bring the whole market under legal regulation in order to really get drugs under control and reduce the violence and exploitation that prohibition creates.”

The UK committee’s endorsement of decriminalization is just the latest sign that broad drug policy reforms beyond marijuana legalization are gaining traction around the globe.

This month, Scotland’s ruling party unanimously adopted a resolution endorsing “decriminalization of possession and consumption of controlled drugs so that health services are not prevented from giving treatment to those that need it.”

In Canada, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health issued a report in June recommending the government “work with provinces, territories, municipalities and Indigenous communities and law enforcement agencies to decriminalize the simple possession of small quantities of illicit substances.”

In the U.S., presidential candidates such as Pete Buttigieg and Tulsi Gabbard have voiced support for drug decriminalization during the course of their campaigns for the Democratic nomination, and businessman Andrew Yang and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) spoke in favor of removing criminal penalties for at least opioids during a debate this month.

Denver and Oakland have enacted policies this year focused on psychedelics decriminalization.

A poll released this month found that a majority of Americans—55 percent—support decriminalizing drugs.

Last week, a top Mexican lawmaker proposed going further by legalizing the production and sales of drugs in order to undercut the violent, cartel-controlled underground market.

Vaping Injury Outbreak Hasn’t Hurt Marijuana Legalization Support, Gallup Poll Shows

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.
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USDA Outlines Rules For Importing Hemp Plants And Seeds From Other Countries

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) quietly updated guidance last week to clarify that hemp seeds and plants may be imported from other countries.

As was the case under a previous announcement focused on seeds, the requirements for importing the full plant from Canada are different than for other countries. Plants from Canada are allowed if they’re “accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate from Canada’s [national plant protection organization” to verify the origin of the plant and to confirm no plant pests are detected.” For other countries, importers must fill out an additional permit application.

Companies can also import hemp seeds from Canada if they produce a “Federal Seed Analysis Certificate.”

In addition to a phytosanitary certificate, those who seek to import seeds from countries other than Canada are subject to a Custom and Border Protection inspection at the port of entry in order “ensure they meet [Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service] regulations, including certification and freedom from plant pests.”

Prior to last week, USDA had only offered guidance on the rules for importing seeds, which it released in April. Both updates are in response to the federal legalization of hemp and its derivatives under the 2018 Farm Bill.

USDA has taken an incremental approach to the implementation process for hemp since the legislation was signed into law last December. The department said in April that it’s accepting applications for intellectual property protections for seed-propagated hemp.

In August, USDA said farmers operating under the 2014 Farm Bill are eligible for federal crop insurance for the 2020 planting season. That coverage will extend to all hemp farmers after USDA releases its final regulations for the crop.

USDA Deputy Secretary Stephen Censky said on Monday that the department plans to release its interim final rule on hemp within “the next couple of weeks.”

The latest development comes after more than three months of interagency review of the regulations, which included input from the Justice Department and White House Office of Management and Budget.

Hemp Regulations Will Be Issued Within Weeks, Top USDA Official Says

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.
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