Since we last took readers on a coast-to-coast tour of cannabis legislative activity, activists across the country have been busy promoting legalization in the holdout states. And while the main federal push for legalization is coming from the Democratic side of Congress, the action on the state level is just as likely to come from the Republican side of their chambers, making legalization more of a bipartisan issue than ever. Here are some of the recent initiatives:
In Ohio, activists are collecting signatures to put a cannabis measure on the ballot in 2022. In addition, two Republican state representatives, Jamie Callender and Ron Ferguson, have proposed a new bill allowing adults 21 and older to purchase recreational cannabis; they are seeking co-sponsors for the legislation and plan to formally file the legislation next month.
A similar signature drive is taking place in South Dakota, where activists are seeking backup legislation for the 2020 voter-passed Amendment A that is still held up waiting for a Supreme Court decision on its constitutionality. While advocates are hopeful the first measure will eventually be approved by the Court, they’re making sure this new measure will be more likely to withstand legal challenges.
Across the border in North Dakota, activists are working to place a constitutional amendment on the 2022 ballot to legalize cannabis. Legislation to do this previously passed the House, but was rejected in the Senate. The exact same situation is taking place in New Hampshire where legislation has also died in the Senate; current polls show that three in four New Hampshirites support legalization which can bode well for amendment passage.
Also this month, Oklahoma activists filed two 2022 ballot measures to legalize adult recreational cannabis use and expand the state’s existing medical cannabis program. Both initiatives would be constitutional amendments.
Ballot measures for 2022 legalizing adult recreational cannabis can also be expected in Missouri, Arkansas, Florida, Maryland and Missouri. In Idaho, there are dual initiatives that activists are taking: one to legalize medical cannabis and another to legalize adult recreational possession. And in Wyoming, dual ballot initiatives would legalize medical cannabis, and decriminalize possession — full recreational legalization is still on their back burner.
Lastly, one can always expect California to be ahead of the curve, and 2022 likely won’t disappoint: a signature collection initiative is now underway to legalize psilocybin. So designer brands of magic mushrooms may one day be available at the local Safeway.