The NCSL Blog


By Karmen Hanson

Proposals to allow for medical or adult use of cannabis continue to grow across the country, with eight measures appearing on ballots in five states.

ballot going into ballot boxYes, you read that right, voters in three states will consider multiple measures. In four of the states, voters will consider adult-use measures.

Mississippi Initiative 65 and Alternative 65A are a combination of questions that would allow one of two amendments to establish a medical cannabis program for people with a debilitating medical condition. Voters will first be asked to vote for “either or neither” of the initiatives to pass. Voters must first elect “either” for their preferred measure vote to be counted. A vote for “neither” does not require someone to select a preferred measure.

A vote in favor of Initiative 65 will approve an amendment to create a medical program that would allow more than 20 qualifying conditions, set the amount of marijuana possession allowed, and apply a sales tax rate of 7% and other provisions. Alternative 65A, referred by the legislature, would allow people with a terminal illness to qualify for the program, require only pharmaceutical-grade marijuana products, mandate patient oversight by a licensed health professional, and other provisions decided by the legislature.

South Dakota’s dueling Initiated Measure 26 and Constitutional Amendment A both pertain to medical programs. In addition to a medical program, Amendment A also would create and regulate an adult-use program and allow home-growing of up to three plants if no local retail marijuana business exists. Taxes of 15% on non-medical sales would fund administrative costs, public education and the general fund. Measure 26 would create a regulated medical-use program and allow adults to grow up to three plants or up to three ounces of marijuana.

Montana’s Initiative 118 would set the legal definition of “adult” for purchasing, consuming or possession of marijuana to 21 years. Initiative 190 would regulate and tax limited amounts of marijuana for adults aged 21 and older. Revenues generated from sales would be split among a wide number of programs including wildlife habitat preservation, state parks, trails and recreation facilities, public health and human services to increases access to substance use disorder treatment and support services, local governments, veterans’ affairs and the state general fund.

Proposition 207 in Arizona would create and regulate adult-use marijuana and impose a 16% tax on sales to fund community colleges, municipal law enforcement, fire districts, highways and a new justice reinvestment fund. Localities would be allowed to prohibit marijuana businesses or testing laboratories, in addition to creating their own zoning and licensing regulations if permitted. This is the second time a citizen-initiative to regulate marijuana for adult-use appears on the Arizona ballot, the first being in 2016.

The New Jersey Marijuana Legalization Amendment, also known as Public Question 1, would enact a constitutional amendment to regulate the possession, cultivation, processing and sale of retail marijuana for people ages 21 years and older. If approved, the Cannabis Regulator Commission and state legislature would create the regulations required to build the system. State sales tax would be capped at 6.625% and up to an additional 2% tax by localities. This is the first time the issue will go to the voters after the New Jersey state legislature passed a resolution to add it to the ballot following a failed legalization bill in the legislature.

You can track these and other ballot measures in NCSL’s Statewide Ballot Measures Database.

Karmen Hanson is the program director for behavioral health and pharmaceuticals in NCSL’s Health Program.

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About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.