The Marijuana Midterms: Ballot Initiatives in Four States + Plenty of Hot Races
Four states are voting on legalizing recreational (Michigan, North Dakota) and medical (Missouri, North Dakota) marijuana on Nov. 6. In addition, numerous Congressional and statewide candidates on the ballot support legalization. Here’s the breakdown:
Prop 1, or The Marijuana Legalization Initiative, if passed, would allow adults to possess up to 2.5 ounces of flower and 15 grams of concentrate as well as grow up to 12 plants. Michigan would be the 10th state to legalize marijuana and the first in the Midwest. The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA) raised $2.3 million as of early October with the Marijuana Policy Project ($743,000) donating nearly a third of that total. Smoker’s Outlet Management and MI Legalize 2018 have kicked in $250,000 and $170,000, respectively. The opposition—Healthy and Productive Michigan and Committee to Keep Pot Out of Neighborhoods and Schools—has amassed $1.5 million in contributions, two-thirds from Smart Approaches Against Marijuana (SAM) and another $250,000 from Michigan Energy First. The latest polling shows Prop 1 leading 57%-42%.
See Freedom Leaf article: Michigan Poised to Be the 10th State to Legalize It
It’s an embarrassment of riches in the Show Me State with three different medical measures on the ballot: Amendment 2, Amendment 3 and Prop C. Missouri’s Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, who’s up for reelection, has endorsed Amendment 2, as well as NORML. “Of the three, NORML believes that Amendment 2 is written in a manner that best provides for the needs of patients and their physicians, and is the measure most likely to withstand scrutiny from lawmakers,” NORML stated on Sept. 5. If the two constitutional amendments both pass, the top vote-getter would become law. If neither of the constitutional ballot initiatives pass and Prop C does, then, it likely would be overruled by Missouri’s Republican state legislature. Keep it simple: Vote for Amendment 2.
See Freedom Leaf article: Dueling Medical-Marijuana Initiatives in Missouri
Advocates in the Peace Garden State are hoping to join Michigan as a legal rec state in 2018. Measure 3 is purposefully vague; it doesn’t call for specific amounts that would be legal or how to create a commercial market for cultivation, processing, testing and sales. That’ll be up to the legislature. But it does includes provisions that would expunge records of previous marijuana charges and convictions. NORML and travel host Rick Steve have kicked in money to support Legalize ND. The polls are hard to read, swinging widely in both directions, though a Kitchens Group poll released on Oct. 22 had Measure 3 ahead, 51%-36%.
See Freedom Leaf article: North Dakota Recreational Legalization Initiative Makes the Ballot
Prop 2, or The Utah Medical Cannabis Act, was stirring up a lot of controversy in the heart of Mormon until the organization backing the effort, Utah Patients Collective, agreed to a compromise with the state legislature that cancels out the vote. The legislation is similar to Prop 2, but doesn’t allow home growing, reduces the number of dispensaries and adds dosage requirements. Prop 2, however, remains on the ballot.
See Freedom Leaf article: Mormon Church Opposes Marijuana Measure in Utah Despite History of Use
Rep. Beto O’Rourke
There’s probably no bigger race in the Senate than Rep. Beto O’Rourke vs. Sen. Ted Cruz in Texas. One’s the progressive Democratic Congressman, the other’s the conservative incumbent Republican Senator and former Presidential candidate. Beto O’Rourke, who’s backed the legalization cause ever since he was on El Paso’s City Council, has repeatedly called for the end of “the U.S. government’s War on Drugs” and “the federal prohibition of marijuana.” Fellow Texan Willie Nelson played at an O’Rourke rally in Austin in September. The latest Quinnipiac poll has Cruz ahead by five points (51%-46%), despite O’Rourke out-raising Cruz by more than two-to-one ($61.8 million to $24.8). An O’Rourke victory would help swing the Senate back to Democratic control.
Rep. Jared Polis
The four-term Democratic Congressman is hoping to succeed Gov. John Hickenlooper as governor of Colorado. Jared Polis is a longtime marijuana supporter and a member of the Congress’ Cannabis Caucus. He’s also gay. Recent polls show him leading by more than 10 points.
In another highly financed race, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum is in a tight battle to win the statehouse in Florida. Gillum, who’s African American, states at his campaign website that he “supports the legalization of marijuana in order to generate new revenue to pay for teacher and instructional staff pay increases and to reduce the mass incarceration of people with low-level drug offenses.” President Trump, of course, sides with his opponent and has called Gillum a “thief.” In the latest Siena College poll, Gillum leads by 48%-43%.
See Freedom Leaf article: Pro-Cannabis Candidates Head the Midterms Ballot
The former governor is vying for the vacated Senate seat in Tennessee due to Bob Corker’s departure at the end of this year. Phil Bredesen has received support from Nashville stars Taylor Swift and Jason Isbell. This extremely hot race is considered a toss-up.
See Freedom Leaf article: Senate Showdown 2018: 12 Races to Watch
Nevada State Senator and Freedom Leaf Inc. board member Tick Segerblom is running for a seat on the Clark County Commission. He’s supporting current County Commissioner Steve Sisolak in his Democratic bid for governor. That race is a toss-up.
See Freedom Leaf article: Tick Segerblom on Nevada Legalization: “It’s a Work in Progress”
Paulette E. Jordan
It’s been an uphill climb for the Democratic gubernatorial hopeful in Idaho. If Paulette E. Jordan defeats the state’s Lieutenant Governor Brad Little, she’d be the first Native America governor in U.S. history. Jordan’s not shy about marijuana, especially the benefits of CBD. “The people of Idaho want this change,” the former state rep said in May. “They want legalization, whether it’s medicinal or recreational. This is a natural medicine that Mother Earth has created. Why would we keep that from the people? It’s been here thousands of years, as long as my ancestors have been here.”
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