Voters in Missouri and Maryland voted to legalize recreational marijuana Tuesday, further loosening state pot laws for more than 12 million Americans, even though the drug is still illegal at the federal level and is classified as a Schedule I substance.
Maryland overwhelmingly approved the legalization of marijuana – 65% of voters were for it after two thirds of the state’s votes were counted by early Wednesday morning.
On the ballot, voters were asked, “Do you favor the legalization of the use of cannabis by an individual who is at least 21 years of age on or after July 1, 2023, in the State of Maryland?”
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“It’s historic to see that Maryland, right on the doorstep of our nation’s capital in DC, has legalized adult recreational use of cannabis,” said Luis Merchan, chairman and CEO of cannabis cultivator Flora Growth. “With this much momentum, we strongly urge the federal government to start to raise action to allow safe banking access and lift other restrictions to a thriving industry, which is poised to help U.S. consumers and bring in tax revenue as well.”
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Missouri’s ballot measure was extremely close, as votes were counted late Tuesday. However, with 99.9% of votes in early Wednesday, it passed with 53% support. That ballot measure will remove bans on the “purchase, possession, consumption, use, delivery, manufacture, and sale of marijuana for personal use for adults over the age of twenty-one.”
The Show Me State’s initiative will also impose a 6% tax on retail sales of recreational marijuana.
Arkansas voters, however, rejected the legalization of marijuana on Election Day, the Associated Press projected.
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North Dakota defeated its ballot measure to legalize marijuana as well. That is the second time in four years voters have rejected an effort on the issue.
A similar North Dakota measure failed in 2018.
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South Dakota voters also appeared on the verge of rejecting the legalization of marijuana Wednesday morning. With 99% of votes counted, opposition to the measure sat at 53%, with support at 47%, though the Associated Press did not officially call the race.