Update on ballot initiatives and referendum efforts.
While Wyoming activists made significant progress in collecting signatures for a ballot intuitive effort to legalize cannabis, they didn’t reach their goal in time for the 2022 ballot deadline. They are now aiming for 2024 while pushing the legislature to advance legislative reforms in the interim
Bennett Sondeno of Wyoming NORML said “we will push for legislative action this session and next, and fall back to the 2024 election if the legislators refuse to pass something workable.”
After the Supreme Court nullified the result of a statewide vote legalizing the use of cannabis, South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws (SDBML) have amended their language and are seeking to pass a new 2022 initiative legalizing the adult-use cannabis market. They have collected 15,000 thus far, and need to collect an additional 10,000 signatures from registered voters..
There are currently two ballot initiative campaigns currently underway in Oklahoma.
SQ 819, sponsored by Oklahomans for Responsible Cannabis Action (ORCA), would allow people over the age of 21 to possess up to eight ounces of marijuana that they purchase from retailers, as well as whatever cannabis they yield from growing up to 12 plants for personal use. The measure also creates pathways to expunge prior records.
Because SQ 819 is a constitutional amendment, activists will need to collect at least 177,958 valid signatures from registered voters on each to qualify for the ballot.
SQ 820, sponsored by New Approach PAC, would allow adults 21 and older to purchase and possess up to one ounce of cannabis and grow up to six mature plants and six seedlings for personal use as well as including some patient protections. Additionally, people serving in prison for activity made legal under the measure could “file a petition for resentencing, reversal of conviction and dismissal of case, or modification of judgment and sentence.” Those who’ve already served their sentence for such a conviction could also petition the courts for expungement.
Because SQ 820 is statutory, there’s a lower signature threshold to qualify for the ballot. Backers of the campaign need to gather 94,911 valid signatures from registered voters within 90 days to make the 2022 ballot.
Advocates with the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol turned in over 200,000 signatures from registered voters in an effort to compel state lawmakers to decide on a proposal that would allow adults to possess, grow, and purchase marijuana and marijuana-related products.
In a January 3, 2022 letter, Secretary of State Frank LaRose said that proponents failed to gather a sufficient number of validated signatures. According to local reporting: “The group now has until Jan. 14 to collect 13,062 additional signatures under the state’s ‘cure’ period, the time during which signature campaigns can address deficiencies in the petitions they submitted. The signatures must come from voters who haven’t previously signed. Failing to meet the deadline would mean the group would have to start over, likely dooming the effort for this year.”
Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana (NMM) is collecting signatures from Nebraska voters for two separate ballot petitions. Each petition contains a statutory measure. The Medical Cannabis Patient Protection Act protects patients with serious health conditions and their caregivers from arrest for the use of medical cannabis as recommended by a healthcare provider. The Medical Cannabis Commission Act regulates private businesses that provide medical cannabis to qualified patients.
At least 87,000 verified voter signatures are needed for each petition to qualify the measures for the 2022 ballot. The deadline to file the petition sheets and signatures is July 7, 2022. If a majority of Nebraska voters approve both measures, they become law once the results of the election are certified.
A citizens initiative sponsored by Legal Missouri 2022 seeks to allow those 21 years and older to possess, purchase, consume and cultivate marijuana while allowing those with nonviolent marijuana-related offenses to automatically expunge their criminal records. It seeks to broaden industry participation by small business owners and among disadvantaged populations, including those with limited capital, residents of high-poverty communities, service-disabled veterans, and those previously convicted of nonviolent marijuana offenses. Additionally, the initiative makes some improvements to the Missouri medical marijuana program.
HB01 seeks to place a referendum question on the ballot that would allow voters to decide whether or not the state ought to legalize the adult use of marijuana. If passed by lawmakers, voters would decide the issue in November.
Legislation is pending to legalize the use, possession, and retail sale of marijuana for adults in Kentucky! HB 225 seeks to place a cannabis referendum question before voters. If passed, it would guarantee the right of an individual 21 years of age or older to possess, use, buy or sell one ounce or less of cannabis and to cultivate, harvest, and store up to five cannabis plants for personal use. It would also allow for the production, processing, and sale of cannabis and cannabis-derived products.
Activists with the group Regulate Florida faced several significant hurdles that prevented their ability to collect sufficient signatures to place an initiative on the 2022 ballot. This included rulings by the state Supreme Court striking down proposed ballot language. They have now turned their focus to placing adult-use legalization on the state’s 2024 ballot. That campaign will start on February 2 and activists will then have two years to first gather 222,898 valid signatures to prompt a judicial and fiscal impact review, and then they will need a total of 891,589 signatures to make the ballot.
A proposed constitutional amendment submitted by Arkansans for Marijuana Reform seeks to allow adults 21 and older to possess up to four ounces of cannabis flower, two ounces of concentrates, and cultivate up to six mature marijuana plants and six seedlings for personal use.
A separate group of activists, Arkansas True Grass, are also gathering signatures for a 2022 ballot initiative to create a system of regulated sales for adults 21 and older. Under the proposal, adults would be permitted to purchase up to four ounces of cannabis and grow up to 12 plants for personal use. (View signature locations.)
Additionally, former Arkansas lawmaker Eddie Armstrong (D) is leading a campaign that also intends to put cannabis legalization on the state’s 2022 ballot. The text of the campaign’s initiative has not yet been released, however.