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Marijuana is on the ballot in 5 states

Election 2022 Marijuana Explainer
Posted at 10:26 AM, Nov 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-01 13:26:06-04

More states could soon join the growing list of places where recreational marijuana is legal.

Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota and South Dakota will vote in the midterms on whether to amend their constitutions to legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 years and older.

Maryland and Missouri are tying recreational marijuana to calls for social justice. The amendments would grant relief to individuals convicted of certain marijuana crimes.

The ballot measures in Arkansas, North Dakota and South Dakota just focus on legalizing the industry without taking into account prior convictions.

Legalizing recreational marijuana has become more popular over the years. According to a 2021 poll by the Pew Research Center, 60% of Americans said recreational and medical marijuana should be legal.

"From 2000 to 2019, the share of Americans saying marijuana should be legal more than doubled,' the Pew Research Center stated.

Currently, recreational marijuana is legal in 19 states and Washington, D.C.

Colorado was the first state to legalize marijuana. Voters in 2012 passed Amendment 64, which amended the state's constitution to legalize cannabis. Other states followed by either passing ballot initiatives or going through their legislatures.

Marijuana is still illegal at the federal level. However, President Joe Biden, this year, softened the government's stance on marijuana. He pardoned all prior federal offenses of simple possession of marijuana.

"No one should be in jail just for using or possessing marijuana," Biden stated in October.

The president also ordered the attorney general and the secretary of Health and Human Services to review how marijuana is scheduled under federal law.

It's currently classified as a Schedule I drug. It's in the same category as heroin and LSD.