As the winds of change blow across the United States, many states have lifted their bans on recreational cannabis. However, not every country has built the green wave with open arms. Despite the growing popularity of Cannabis and its proven medical benefitsSome states still resist legalizing recreational use. Whether it’s a matter of public health, public safety, or a reluctance to break with tradition, these countries have chosen to swim against legalization. So, while some countries are making their way toward a more enlightened approach to cannabis, others are still firmly in the past.
Recently, Arkansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Oklahoma voted against the legalization of recreational cannabis which shows that not all US states welcome the legalization of cannabis with open arms,
The Arkansas state legislature proposed Number 4, which seeks to legalize cannabis for personal use by adults. This amendment would allow licensed commercial facilities to grow and sell cannabis while regulating their activities. The amendment would make one ounce of cannabis for recreational use legal for adults 21 and older under Arkansas law recognizing that the drug remains illegal under federal law. Medical marijuana cardholders will also be allowed to purchase recreational cannabis without adding that amount to the amount they can purchase for medical reasons.
However, the preliminary vote count reveals this 56% of Arkansas voters rejected Number 4aimed at legalizing cannabis. This means that the modification will not be activated. It should be noted that Arkansas voters pre-approved the use of medical marijuana in 2016.
Legalization of recreational marijuana has faced opposition from the Arkansas Family Council Action Committee because it can escalate petty criminal activity and fuel substance addiction. This faction and other groups sought the support of influential political figures such as former Vice President Mike Pence and Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson to thwart the proposal.
Measure 2 has been suggested Adult use of cannabis is criminalized in North Dakota, giving people 21 years of age and older the right to possess a limited amount of cannabis derivatives. Furthermore, the measure proposes a framework to protect users, impose restrictions and penalties, and define the rights of employers with regard to the use of cannabis products.
North Dakota voters decisively rejected Measure 2, with nearly 55% opposing cannabis legalization, even though 99% of the votes were counted. Opposition to marijuana was evident even in the more progressive areas of the state. The New York Times reported that Burleigh County, which includes Bismarck, the state capital, voted against legalization by 58%.
While Cass County, where Fargo is located, showed a more positive response, it wasn’t enough to balance out conservative areas in the state. The ballot measure was similar to a bill passed by the North Dakota House of Representatives in 2021.
Compared to the Arkansas Amendment, the initiative proposed legalizing possession of one ounce of marijuana for individuals 21 and older, with the additional provision of allowing residents to grow up to three plants in their homes. North Dakota voters also rejected the legalization of cannabis in the 2018 midterm elections.
Action 27 is a legal initiative in South Dakota proposing to legalize adult cannabis use at the age of 21 And above. This measure allows South Dakotans to possess one ounce of marijuana or eight grams of marijuana concentrate and give these amounts to other adults without compensation. Furthermore, residents of cities or counties that do not have licensed marijuana retailers may grow up to three plants per person or six plants per household.
The ballot initiative prioritizes an employer’s right to maintain drug-free workplace policies and refrain from requiring employees to use marijuana. Private property owners may not allow marijuana to be grown or consumed on their property. The proposal also subjects individuals who grow marijuana without ensuring its concealment or its locked status from public view to small administrative fines. Finally, it allows penalties for adults who smoke marijuana in public.
With a projected 99% of the ballots counted, South Dakota voters ultimately rejected Measure 27, with nearly 53% voting against legalizing marijuana possession and use for those 21 and older, NBC reported. The ballot initiative should have elaborated on the expected regulatory policies of the state. According to the marijuana movement, the policy already indicated that state and local governments could prohibit its use on structures “owned, leased, or occupied” by a government entity.
South Dakota voters had previously expressed support for legalizing marijuana in 2020, with 54% of voters favoring the move. However, a legal challenge spearheaded by Governor Naim impeded reform progress. According to a faculty member at Northern Kentucky University, Crete, many South Dakota residents place great importance on Governor Noem’s opinions. Although Noem had largely secured her re-election, she told voters she would not block legalization of marijuana again if the initiative was passed. However, she has also been noted encouraging individuals to vote against the ballot measure in campaign advertisements.
rationing Recreational marijuana has also been rejected by Oklahoma voters After a wave of last-minute opposition from religious leaders, law enforcement officials and prosecutors. If approved, Oklahoma would become the 22nd state to legalize adult cannabis use, joining conservative states like Montana and Missouri that have allowed similar measures in recent years.
The proposal faced opposition from Republican Governor Kevin State and several Republican lawmakers, with nearly every Republican senator taking a stand against it. The “No” campaign was led by former FBI agent and former Republican governor Frank Keating, along with Terry White, who previously headed the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.
Expressing their satisfaction with the outcome, Pat McPherron, a Republican political strategist who managed the opposition campaign, noted that the voters’ decision was a clear indication that they did not agree with the entertainment undertones of the medical system. He believed that the election result reflected voter discontent with the overly entertaining nature of the state’s medical system. McPherron also noted that voters recognized the criminal elements associated with the system and recognized the need to address mental health concerns in the state.
Legalizing marijuana has become an increasingly contentious issue in the United States, with some states embracing it and others vehemently opposing it. Recent election results in Arkansas, North Dakota, South Dakota and Oklahoma show the division among Americans regarding cannabis reform.
While some countries have taken steps toward legalization, others have maintained the status quo. Regardless of the outcome of this election, it’s clear that the conversation about marijuana reform will continue to evolve as more and more states scrutinize the issue.