Maryland & Missouri Become 20th and 21st States to Legalize Recreational Marijuana
By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law
Five states had proposals to legalize recreational marijuana on the ballot in the midterm elections held on November 8, 2022. Voters in Maryland and Missouri approved the legalization, while Arkansas, North Dakota, and South Dakota rejected similar proposals. As a result of the vote, Maryland and Missouri became the 20th and 21st states to legalize cannabis for adult recreational use.
Maryland’s voters overwhelmingly approved Question 4 as it passed, with 65% of voters casting ballots in favor. The amendment creates a right to possess and use marijuana and directs the state Legislature to enact laws governing its sale. Following its passage, adults in the state will be allowed to possess up to 1.5 ounces, or two marijuana plants, beginning July 1, 2023.
Additionally, it allows for the expungement of records for people arrested for marijuana possession and for people serving time for simple possession to have their sentences reconsidered. It would also establish a cannabis business assistance fund for small businesses and minority- and women-owned companies entering the cannabis industry.
Next up, the state’s lawmakers will decide on licensing and taxation.
Missouri voters passed Amendment 3, with 53% of voters in favor. The measure removes existing state prohibitions on marijuana and legalizes the purchase, possession, consumption, use, delivery, manufacture, and sale of marijuana for personal use for adults 21 and older. It also allows individuals with certain marijuana-related offenses to be released from prison, parole, or probation. More specifically, it levies a 6% state tax rate on sales and allows local governments to impose an additional tax rate of up to 3%.
Other States With Drugs On The Ballot.
Three other states with existing medical marijuana programs also saw voters head to the polls to decide whether to legalize recreational marijuana. At the same time, voters in Colorado considered a historic bill to decriminalize certain psychedelics.
Voters in Arkansas, North Dakota, and South Dakota rejected proposals to bring the states from medical marijuana use to full recreational legalization.
Lastly, in Colorado, Proposition 122, a bill to decriminalize plant and fungi-based psychedelic compounds, appeared to pass with approximately 51% of the vote narrowly. The passing of this historic measure comes ten years after Colorado made history as one of the first states to legalize retail marijuana by ballot initiative.
For updates on important marijuana laws and policies, check out our Marijuana Law Blog and YouTube page.
Contact Experienced Health Law Attorneys for Medical Marijuana Regulatory Matters and Other Health Care Licensing Matters.
The Health Law Firm attorneys can assist health care providers and facilities, such as doctors, pharmacists, and pharmacies, participating in the medical marijuana industry. We represent doctors, pharmacies, and pharmacists facing proceedings brought by state regulators or agencies. We represent health-related businesses and medical professionals in all types of licensing and regulatory matters, including state and federal administrative hearings. Several of our attorneys, including Mr. Indest, act as expert witnesses in attorney’s fee litigation and in health law litigation.
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Reisman, Sam. “Maryland And Missouri Legalize Pot, 3 Others Just Say No.” Law360. (November 9, 2020).
Sykes, Stefan. “Here’s how five states voted on the legalization of recreational marijuana.” CNBC. (November 9, 2022). Web.
About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave. Suite 1000, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620 or Toll-Free: (888) 331-6620.
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