Even though Arizona missed its shot at putting recreational cannabis on the ballot this election, four other states in the country will decide whether to legalize cannabis in one way or another next week.
To recap, we're up to 30 states and the District of Columbia that have legalized medical cannabis since 1996. (Arizona was the 14th state to do so in 2010.) Nine of those states and D.C. have legalized recreational cannabis for adults.
This election, Michigan and (surprisingly) North Dakota will vote on recreational cannabis laws, and Utah and Missouri, some of the last holdouts, will vote on medical cannabis laws.
Michigan legalized medical cannabis in 2008, and apparently, it's been a good decade. A Michigan State University poll found 61 percent of voters in favor while just 34 percent oppose legalization.
The measure, known to Michiganites as Proposal 1, will legalize cannabis flower, concentrates and edibles for anyone over the age of 21, allow up to 12 plants for personal cultivation and limit possession to 10 ounces of flower.
Similar to recreational initiatives in other states, municipalities retain the ability to outlaw cannabis retailers within their boundaries.
Proposal 1 will also institute a 10 percent sales tax on cannabis, making it one of the lowest among recreational states, which tend to be closer to 15 percent, except for Washington, where the sales tax is a whopping 37 percent.
Tax revenue will go towards regulating the market, cannabis research, local budgets and of course, schools and roads.
This initiative might raise a few eyebrows, considering North Dakota voted to legalize medical cannabis only two years ago. In fact, their state health department only just announced that patients could begin registering on Oct. 29.
The state only plans for eight dispensary licenses and none of them have been approved.
It's a little strange to see a state that has no experience with a medical program to so quickly jump to recreational. It's even more strange because North Dakota is typically a pretty red state.
The polls don't help much here either. The Bismark Tribune conducted an online poll that showed about 80 percent in favor of legalization. However, the poll skewed heavily toward younger people, 81 of 237 people polled were over 40.
Another poll from a public relation firm showed 38 percent of residents in favor and 56 percent opposed. So how it'll go down on voting day is anyone's guess as both polls' methodology has been called into question.
Measure 3, as it's called, would legalize cannabis for everyone over 21, institute penalties for the sale or distribution of cannabis to those under 21 and expunge the records of past convicts for non-violent, cannabis-related crimes.
And... that's about it.
Measure 3 has no clauses pertaining to the number of dispensary licenses issued, possession limits or plants at home. In a way, that makes it a real Wild according to Utahpolicy.com. But after the leadership within the Mormon Church came out against medical cannabis in August, those numbers slipped to around 65 percent.
Almost entirely contrary to Arizona's latest politics around cannabis, the Utah measure, Proposition 2, would legalize everything but smoking cannabis. So, vapes, edibles, tinctures—y'know, concentrates—would be legal, but not flower. Interesting take, Utah.
Proposition 2 would include 10 qualifying conditions, including the usual HIV/AIDS, cancer and chronic pain, but also Alzheimer's and PTSD, which tend to get overlooked in medical states.
Patients would be able to grow up to six plants, but only if they're more than 100 miles from a dispensary. That puts Arizona's 25-mile radius to shame.
Finally, Missouri, one of the bastions of the Deep South, has decided not to offer one, but three potential medical cannabis programs, each with their own quirks. Two are constitutional amendments, Amendments 2 and 3, and Proposition C revises the state's statutes.
Amendment 2, led by New Approach Missouri, sets a 4 percent tax rate with revenue going toward veteran healthcare and regulating the program and would allow patients to grow their own plants.
It doesn't mention qualifying conditions or dispensary licenses but lets the state health department figure that stuff out later.
Amendment 3 is led by a personal injury lawyer who wants to chair the Biomedical Research and Drug Development Institute established by the amendment, which would collect the 15 percent sales tax on cannabis to research cures for cancer.
Proposition C would develop a regulatory structure and only institute a 2 percent tax, which would go toward veterans' services, drug treatment, early childhood education and public safety.
Having three choices could complicate any actual opportunity to legalize medical cannabis, but most of the state seems to be behind Amendment 2, judging by a survey of opinions on the matter. West initiative. If it passes, it'll be a fun state to keep an eye on for some crazy cannabis news.
Given national trends toward accepting medical cannabis programs, it's not surprising that such programs are making their way to the country's reddest nooks. The Utah Patients Coalition has taken on the Mormon Church to try to provide cannabis for patients this November.
Through 2017, medical cannabis enjoyed some popularity, with around 75 percent of Utahns supporting a program.