It was a big year for marijuana policy in North America. Mexico's Supreme Court overturned the pot ban last week, while the Canadian market for recreational marijuana officially opened its doors in October.
Legalized in Vermont since July 1, the use of recreational marijuana became legal, and Oklahoma voters approved one of the country's most advanced medical marijuana bills in June. The New York Department of Health officially recommended the legalization of the Governor and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands.
Now, legalization advocates hope to build on these achievements with a series of nationwide referendums to be considered tomorrow, including full legal legalization in two states and medical marijuana in two more. Here is an overview of what the measures say and where the survey currently stands.
Michigan: Leisure Use
Michigan voters will consider a Colorado-style recreational law that would legalize the sale and use of marijuana for individuals over the age of 21. The law of Michigan is more legal than the law in other states: it would allow those affected to possess up to 2.5 ounces of people to own marijuana at a given time (most other states allow 1 ounce) and would allow them to to grow 12 individual plants for own consumption (most other states allow six).
The latest surveys show that the measure passes at a comfortable distance. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer supports legalizationWhile republican candidate Bill Schuette issued a statement saying he did not personally support the legalization of recreational marijuana, but would, as governor, respect the will of the voters.
North Dakota: recreational use
North Dakota's election came out of nowhere, surprising much of the world of marijuana policy. The initiative was initiated by local advocates of marijuana reform, with no initial support from major national actors such as NORML and the Marijuana Policy Project.
Therefore, the measure does not follow the template for recreational marijuana programs established in other states. It sets no limits to ownership and legalizes the sale and marketing of the drug without creating a regulatory structure for these sales. Proponents say they expect the legislature to iron out these details when the bill is passed. The measure would also remove the criminal records of persons with previous marijuana convictions.
The survey of the measure can be found everywhere. Two surveys conducted around the same time in October yielded opposite, one-sided results: one showed that the initiative exceeded 51 percent to 36 percent while the other rejected 65 percent. With numbers like this, it's hard to predict how it will come out.
Missouri: Medical use
Missouri voters will not consider one, not two three separate marijuana initiatives for tomorrow's polls. The measures differ in some details, eg. For example, what is the amount for the medicinal pot and whether patients are allowed to grow their own plants. The one with the widest range of advocates from national drug policy groups and local newspapers is Amendment 2, which is similar to other states' medical guidelines: doctors might recommend marijuana for a range of specific conditions, and patients would do so. The drug can either be obtained through a pharmacy or through a pharmacy Cultivation at home.
The poll on the subject was in short supply, but a poll in August showed that voters generally supported a change in the constitution that would legalize medical marijuana. If two or more of the measures are passed, it is likely that the measure will come into force with the most votes.
Utah: Medical Use
Utah voters will be dealing with medical marijuana, but the end result is essentially a foregone conclusion. In October, supporters and opponents of the medical marijuana policy reached a compromise: the governor would convene a special legislative meeting immediately after the election to create a more limited medical marijuana law regardless of the outcome of the ballot.
The supporters of the election voted in favor of the compromise proposal, as the legislator in Utah has the opportunity to overturn the electoral initiatives by majority vote. "If Proposition 2 was passed without an agreement on the next steps, patients may have waived legal medicinal cannabis for years," said Matthew Schweich of Marijuana Policy Project in a statement issued in October. "This compromise eliminates this uncertainty and ensures that legislative politicians work to make the law work."
Other medical marijuana supporters are dissatisfied with the proposed compromise law, which is more limited in scope than medical marijuana programs in other states. It does not allow the patient to grow their own plants and only allows smoked marijuana under certain circumstances.
There are also a handful of different bills that are being considered at the local level: voters in a number of cities in Ohio will take steps to decriminalize marijuana use, which would essentially treat minor offenses like a speeding ticket. In some cities in Wisconsin there are now non-binding referenda on whether marijuana should be legalized for medical purposes or for leisure. Activists hope the findings will help persuade legislators in Wisconsin to consider legalizing at the state level.