This has the possibility to be another banner year for the cannabis legalization movement, with up to six states potentially legalizing some form of cannabis by the end of 2018.
Meanwhile, advocates in Missouri and Utah gathered enough signatures to get medical marijuana on the 2018 ballot, while voters in Michigan and North Dakota will decide the fate of recreational cannabis initiatives in November.
Here’s an update on where support and funding levels for each legalization ballot initiative stands in Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota and Utah.
Proposal 1, the ballot initiative to legalize the possession and sale of recreational marijuana in Michigan, has garnered consistently strong support in the state in terms of funding and polling.
The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol is leading the legalization effort and, to date, has outraised opposing organizations by a 6-to-1 margin.
A May poll by Victory Phones found 48% of respondents in support of the measure – the lowest level of support among all listed polls – while Michigan State University’s Institute for Public Policy and Social Research poll, also in May, pegged support for the initiative at 61%. The most recent poll from WDIV/Detroit News found 56% of likely Michigan voters in support of legalizing recreational cannabis.
Three separate initiatives to legalize the possession and sale of medical marijuana made the ballot in Missouri.:
- Proposition C – a statutory change instead of a constitutional amendment – would allow MMJ use if a patient has a qualifying condition. Medical marijuana would incur a 2% sales tax at the retail level.
- Amendment 3 would allow patients to use MMJ if they have a specific qualifying condition but would tax MMJ sales at 15% to fund cancer and other incurable disease research.
- Amendment 2 would give physicians more latitude when recommending MMJ and would tax sales at 4%. It is also the only ballot initiative in Missouri that specifically allows home cultivation of MMJ.
Funding for each of the initiatives has eclipsed $1 million, and no opposition campaign has been formed.
General public support for legalizing MMJ in the state tops 50%.
Because multiple initiatives are being considered, the measure that receives the most votes is typically adopted. However, if a constitutional amendment and a statutory measure are both passed, the outcome will be decided in court.
A Kitchens Group poll of eligible North Dakota voters in February found 46% of respondents supported Measure 3, the ballot initiative legalizing adult-use cannabis in the state, while 15% of respondents were undecided.
With limited funding to support marketing or voter-outreach efforts, it appears rec legalization in North Dakota will face an uphill battle in November.
Support for medical marijuana legalization in Utah – Proposition 2 – is strong, though it has diminished in recent months.
Market research firm Dan Jones & Associates has polled registered Utah voters on several occasions throughout the year, finding support for MMJ legalization among survey respondents stood at 76% in February. It had dipped to 64% by late August.
The August poll was administered just after the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – an extremely influential religious group in Utah – formally announced its opposition to the MMJ initiative.
The committee registered in support of the legalization measure – Utah Patients Coalition – has raised more than four times that of Drug Safe Utah, the group that opposes the measure.
Eli McVey can be reached at email@example.com