There were several important, albeit lesser known, ballot measures that passed during the midterms that each help to end the prohibition and criminalization of marijuana in the US. Here’s what you may have missed.
The 2022 midterm elections were historical and surprising for many on several fronts. In addition to the unexpected senate and house results, there were an unusual number of historic ballot measures passed on everything from abortion rights to cannabis legalization.
By now, you have likely read that Maryland and Missouri became the twentieth and twenty first states to legalize recreational adult use cannabis. North Dakota, South Dakota and Arkansas all saw their legalization ballot measures fail. These ballot measures were the big headlines, but they were not the only ballot measures for cannabis voted on in this election. In fact, there were several important, albeit lesser known, ballot measures that passed during the midterm election that each help to end the prohibition and criminalization of marijuana in the United States. 5 Texas Cities Voted to Depenalize Marijuana Possession In conservative Texas, where recreational marijuana is illegal and the drug itself is still highly criminalized, five cities voted to change how cannabis position is viewed in the eyes of the law. The five cities; Denton, Elgin, Harker Heights, Killeen and San Marcos all passed ballot measures that “largely prohibit local police officers from either arresting or citing people for Class A or Class B marijuana misdemeanors,” according to NORML.
This is definitely a victory for these major cities, especially in the deep red state of Texas, but these victories start creating a hyper-localized and confusing cannabis policy framework in the Longhorn state. “While these local advancements are important in mitigating harm on citizens and reprioritizing law enforcement time, they result in a patchwork of differing marijuana enforcement policies based on location,” said Texas NORML’s Executive Director Jax James, who believes this calls for lawmakers to take statewide reform measures in 2023. 5 Ohio Cities Voted to Take Local Decriminalization Measures Texas was not the only state that had several cities vote for marijuana decriminalization measures. Citizens in five Ohio cities made similar votes. The municipalities of Corning, Kent, Laurelville, Shawnee and Rushville all approved statutes relating to marijuana decriminalization.Te
These five cities are not alone in Ohio, as 20 other cities have already taken this step, and many have done so through similar initiatives in the past. According to Benzinga, “The 20 jurisdictions across Ohio that have already approved local statutes decriminalizing cannabis possessions did so either via voter initiatives or through their city councils.” This continued forward momentum has many in Ohio optimistic about the state’s chances of legalization in the near future. 25 Towns in RI Voted to Allow New Weed Businesses Near Them Rhode Island may have already legalized cannabis earlier this year, but it still found its way onto the ballot in 31 cities and towns this midterm election. These 31 cities were asked if they supported new cannabis-related businesses opening their doors in their towns — 25 voted yes.
This overwhelming support suggests that many in Rhode Island are ready and eager for recreational cannabis in their state, and in many individual towns. It is important to note, however, that just because the town voted “yes” does not guarantee a dispensary will be opening its doors in that town in the near future. As WPRI News explained, “Even if your municipality voted yes, it doesn’t mean a store will open there. Recreational sales are starting at existing medical marijuana dispensaries on Dec. 1, and future store locations have not yet been proposed.” Colorado Votes to Decriminalize Psilocybin and Other Psychedelics While this last measure does not relate directly to cannabis, it is certainly historic, and at the very least can qualify as “cannabis-adjacent.” Colorado citizens voted to decriminalize several psychedelics, including psilocybin, which is found in magic mushrooms. Proposition 122, known as the Natural Medicine Health Act of 2022 decriminalizes the possession, growing and sharing of psilocybin, psilocyn, dimethyltryptamine (DMT), ibogaine, and mescaline, according to Time.
And if that news isn’t trippy enough, “it also clears a pathway for the use of all these psychedelics at ‘healing centers’ — facilities licensed by the state’s Department of Regulatory Agencies where the public can buy, consume, and take psychedelics under supervision.”
The Fresh Toast is a daily lifestyle platform with a side of cannabis. For more information, visit www.thefreshtoast.com.