Recreational marijuana: five states voting on referendum

Arkansas, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota and Maryland will vote whether or not to legalize recreational marijuana.

In some states, the midterm elections are being used as an opportunity to vote on specific issues. This is the case of the five states holding referendums on recreational marijuana: Arkansas, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota and Maryland. If the proposals go through, the new laws will affect the 17 million people in these five states. If all 5 states approve the proposed measures, it would mean half of all U.S. states allow the administration of marijuana for purely recreational purposes.


The question posed on the ballot is: "Do you favor the legalization of the use of cannabis by a person who will be at least 21 years of age on July 1, 2023 in the state of Maryland?" The proposal advocates the possession of 1.5 ounces, roughly the equivalent of two buds (the flower of the plant). Possession of minor amounts for medicinal purposes is already legal in the state.


A "yes" vote on Missouri Amendment 3 would legalize recreational marijuana use. Although medicinal use was legalized in 2018, the proposed amendment's aim is to expand the possibility of using it for other purposes.

North Dakota

North Dakota will again raise the question regarding recreational use of marijuana. In a 2018 referendum, full legalization of cannabis did not go forward, so once again it is back on the table through Measure 2, which would make marijuana legal for all adults over the age of 21.

The measure permits the possession of up to one ounce of pure cannabis in plant form, four grams of cannabis concentrate and up to 500 milligrams of THC in adult edibles.

South Dakota

In South Dakota, a similar measure was already passed in 2020, but it was eventually struck down by the State Supreme Court. As a result, South Dakota is not one of the 19 U.S. states where the recreational use of marijuana is permitted. Republican Governor Kristi Noem has promised to implement a law in favor of the legal use of marijuana if her voters so decide.


The medical use of marijuana in Arkansas is legally recognized. If recreational use is approved in the midterms, up to one ounce may be carried for personal use.

Responsible Growth Arkansas sponsors the initiative, which entails added measures on taxation and tax collection.

Oklahoma to hold marijuana referendum at a later date

The state of Oklahoma has also expressed its desire to hold a public referendum on the recreational use of marijuana. However, the state will have to wait until spring 2023 to do so. This is because the proponents of this proposal failed to collect enough signatures to put the measure on the ballot in these elections.