Voters in four states to consider marijuana proposals Tuesday

Matthew Allen
·3 min read

Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota all have cannabis proposals on the table

As voters consider candidates to elect to office Tuesday, a number of states will include a question about marijuana use on ballots.

Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota all have proposals on the table for voters to consider cannabis legalization for recreational use within their borders, CNN reports.

New Jersey is the only state dominated by Democrats, while Montana has a divided government and the states of Arizona and South Dakota are ran by Republicans. Current polls show three of the four states, save South Dakota, are getting support for legalization.

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Steven Hawkins, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, sees this as a positive step.

“It’s really showing the kind of breadth of acceptance that we’re seeing around the country with respect to cannabis,” Hawkins told CNN.

READ MORE: Election could stoke US marijuana market, sway Congress

Marijuana is illegal in all forms in 16 states across the country. The plant is legal for both recreational and medicinal use in 11 states, along with the District of Columbia, while 34 states have approved its use for medical purposes, according to Weedmaps.com. Currently, Arizona, Montana and New Jersey have legalized cannabis for medicinal use only. It is not legal in either capacity in South Dakota.

In Arizona, voters will vote on Proposition 207 to decide if cannabis will be legal for adult possession, consumption, transferring and selling.

New Jersey has Public Question No. 1 as a possible amendment of the state constitution to make cannabis legal for recreational use and sales for those over 21 years old.

In terms of South Dakota, two initiatives – Measure 26 and Amendment A – would establish legalization of cannabis for medicinal and recreational use, respectively.

In Montana, two initiatives are on the table. One, Initiative 190, would legalize marijuana for recreational use, possession and selling, as well as call for certain cannabis-related criminal acts to be expunged or resentenced. The other, Initiative 118, is to set the legal age to sell and use marijuana as 21.

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The issue of vacating marijuana-related arrests and convictions is of particular importance to Black communities. According to an ACLU report, Black Americans were four times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession from 2001 to 2010. This is despite the fact that whites consumed marijuana at a slightly higher percentage rate during that same time period.

Many Black communities would also benefit from an increase in legalization of selling recreational marijuana. According to Pacific Standard Magazine, 81% of the nation’s weed dispensaries are white-owned as of 2017, whereas Weedmaps reports that in comparison, only five percent come from Black and Brown ownership.

Marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, which has stunted growth in the budding industry.

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