Skip to content

Marijuana Legalization Had Mixed Appeal For Voters In Five States

Five states will vote on the measure for recreational and medical use of Cannabis during the midterm elections.
A sticker for Indigenous Person’s Day affixes to a street post below a placard stating “VOTE NOV. 8TH” on November 4, 2022, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This coming Tuesday will be the midterm election that decides the fate of legalizing cannabis for recreational and medical purposes in five states. (MARK MAKELA VIA BALLOTPEDIA)


On November 8th, five states voted on marijuana legalization ballot measures. In the central U.S., voters in Arkansas, Missouri, North Dakota, and South Dakota all considered citizen initiatives to legalize marijuana. These four states are Republican leaning in their voting preferences and local governments. In Maryland, which has a divided government, the legislature voted to put the issue before voters. The measure passed in two states and failed in three.

At the national level support for the measures was pushed by such organizations as the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws which was able to draw on the support of several celebrities for its campaign.

“I’m a travel writer, and for me, high is a place. Sometimes I want to go there,”wrote travel writer Rick Steves,”  If my government says I can’t go, there should be a good reason. There is no good reason that an American should be denied the civil liberty of enjoying marijuana.” Steves whose iconic travel guides have introduced scores of Americans to European travel destinations wrote an op-ed ahead of the November 8th elections for the website of the  National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law.

Here’s a summary of those measures:

  • Arkansas Issue 4: Amends the constitution to legalize the possession and use of up to one ounce of marijuana for people 21 and older, enacts a 10% tax on marijuana sales, and requires the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Division to develop rules to regulate marijuana businesses.
  • Maryland Question 4: Amends the constitution to legalize marijuana for people 21 and older beginning in July 2023 and directs the Maryland legislature to pass laws for the use, distribution, regulation, and taxation of marijuana.
  • Missouri Amendment 3: Amends the constitution to legalize marijuana for people 21 and older , allows individuals convicted of non-violent marijuana-related offenses to petition to be released from incarceration and/or have their records expunged, and enacts a 6% tax on the sale of marijuana.
  • North Dakota Statutory Measure 2: Amends state law to legalize the use and possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for people 21 and older, allows individuals to grow up to three marijuana plants, and requires the Department of Health and Human Services to establish rules regulating marijuana by Oct. 1, 2023
  • South Dakota Initiated Measure 27: Amends state law to legalize marijuana for persons who are 21 years old and allows adults to possess one ounce or less of marijuana

“I’m in my 40’s and have never voted in a midterm election in my life. I will be voting tomorrow, straight Republican, pro-legalizing recreational marijuana. Close liberal friends also voting GOP for the first time ever,”said Twtter user who apparently spokef or many given the number of Republican leaning states that voted for Marijuana legalization measures.


Here are the latest results according to media reports:

  • Arkansas Issue 4: 56% opposed the measure, 44% supported the measure according to the channel 5 CBS affiliate.
  • Maryland Question 4: 65.5% supported the measure, 34.5% opposed the measure according the Baltimore Sun.
  • Missouri Amendment 3: 53.1% supported the measure, 46.9 opposed the measure according The Kansas City Star.
  • North Dakota Statutory Measure 2:  55% opposed the measure, 45% supported the measure according to KFYR TV.
  • South Dakota Initiated Measure 27: 52.8% opposed the measure, 47.2% supported the measure according to the Mitchell Daily Republic.

Marijuana is legal in 19 states and D.C. Eleven of those states and D.C. legalized marijuana through the ballot initiative process. One state, New Jersey, passed a legislatively referred measure.


Currently, twelve states have marijuana legalized for recreational or medical use. THe above map does not include the latest news from ballont measure inArkansas, Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota, and South Dakota on November 8th. (NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF STATE LEGISLATURES VIA BALLOTPEDIA) 

In 12 states where marijuana is currently prohibited, the initiative process could be used to legalize recreational or medical marijuana. In addition to the four states deciding marijuana initiatives in 2022, Oklahoma will vote on marijuana legalization in 2023. Marijuana legalization initiatives targeting the 2023 and 2024 ballots have also been filed in Ohio, Wyoming, Florida, and Nebraska and could be filed in Idaho, Mississippi, Nebraska, and Utah.



Produced in association with Ballotpedia.

(Additional reporting provided by Samuel Wonacott and Alberto Arellano)

Edited by Alberto Arellano and Joseph Hammond

Recommended from our partners