Red State Voters Reject Legalizing Weed

( )- Voters around the country headed to the poll this week to vote on whether to legalize marijuana in various forms. While the measure passed in some of the states where it was on the ballot, it did not in more conservative states.

Of the five states where marijuana was on the ballot, only two — Maryland and Missouri — passed. The other three — North Dakota, South Dakota and Arkansas — all voted down the measures that were on the ballot.

Moves to legalize recreational marijuana in most states were opposed by many conservative groups.

The Arkansas Family Council Committee, with help from former Vice President Mike Pence, encouraged citizens in the state to vote down the measure.

In South Dakota, there was opposition from the state’s own governor, Republican Kristi Noem, who took out campaign ads that warned about dangers that marijuana brings. One ad said:

“It’s not good for our kids, and it’s not going to improve our communities.”

There are 19 states as well as the District of Columbia that allow people to use marijuana recreationally. There are 13 states where marijuana is outlawed in all forms. The remaining states, which includes the Dakotas and Arkansas, allow marijuana for medical purposes.

Marijuana is illegal according to federal law in all forms, and is still considered a controlled dangerous substance.

Despite the denial votes in three out of five states during this election cycle, polls show that more than two-thirds of all Americans support the legalization of marijuana. That’s a significant increase over what it was 10 years ago, when less than half the country supported it.

Liberal groups believe that one of the main reasons why the marijuana measures failed was because it was an off-election year — meaning a year in which the president of the United States isn’t on the ballot.

As Alex Kreit, who serves as the director of the Center on Addiction Law & Policy and is a law professor at Northern Kentucky University, told TIME recently:

“This is a tougher issue to succeed on in an off year where you just don’t have the same kind of turnout from younger voters, where this is especially popular, as you do in a presidential year.”

In Arkansas, more than 56% of voters denied the ballot measure. If it would’ve passed, any adult over the age of 21 could’ve possessed and used as much as one ounce of marijuana.

In North Dakota, roughly 55% of voters shot down the legalization measure. In addition to being able to possess and use up to one ounce, the state’s law would’ve made it legal for people to cultivate up to three plants in their own homes.

In South Dakota, about 53% of voters went against it. Voters actually approved recreational marijuana in 2020, but a legal challenge that was spearheaded by Noem stopped that from moving forward and going into effect.

It’s likely that in coming years, legalized marijuana will be on the ballot in more and more states.