Tuesday, November 6 is Election Day. This year several states are putting marijuana and hemp to the vote of the people through amendments and propositions in the 2018 midterm election ballots. Many of the ballot measures come as an anticipatory act before the 2018 Farm Bill is finalized, which is expected to advance hemp reform at the federal level. If you live in a state where cannabis or hemp measures are on your ballot, be sure to make your voice heard and get out and vote this Election Day.
Due to expected changes at the federal level regarding the legal status of CBD and hemp related products, the Colorado state legislature is suggesting a change to their current definition of industrial hemp. The change, labeled Amendment X, would remove the current definition of industrial hemp from the Colorado Constitution and it would instead become a statutory term. This would not change the functional meaning of industrial hemp in Colorado, but would allow the state to adjust their definition as needed to compete with other states in production and ensure that Colorado is not placing unnecessarily stringent requirements on its citizens.1,2,3
In Michigan, the state is hoping to legalize marijuana for recreational use for residents 21 years of age and older. The proposal includes the use and production of CBD since it is considered the same as marijuana under state law. Industrial hemp is still only permissible in Michigan under a state piloted research program and not for commercial sale. Many farmers are pushing for the legalized growth and distribution of industrial hemp in order to compete with Canadian growers, so this might soon change.4,5
Missouri offers voters three choices regarding legislative marijuana and hemp issues. Each option on the ballot provides for the prescription of medical marijuana by a licensed and certified doctor for specific medical diseases and conditions. Missouri does not allow for legal industrial hemp and none of these measures would alter that fact.
Amendment 1: Would allow doctors to legally prescribe marijuana and CBD oil to patients suffering from one of ten listed illnesses. Patients would be allowed to grow their own plants in state registered facilities with a registration fee of $100. This Amendment calls for a modest 4% tax rate.
Amendment 2: Also legalizes medical marijuana, but primarily for the purposes of funding cancer research by attorney/physician Scott Bradshaw. It encompasses similar medicinal rules as Amendment 2, but does so at a tax rate of 15%.
Proposition C: Different than an amendment to the state constitution, Proposition C allows for legislatures to adjust definitions and rules after analyzing the implications of the law. With the lowest state tax, Proposition C allows doctors to prescribe cannabis to patients at a 2% tax rate. 6,7
Measure 3 on the North Dakota primary ballot removes marijuana from the list of Schedule I substances and prohibits the prosecution of possession for individuals 21 years old and older. This measure strips the substance of all regulations. While it will no longer be illegal if the measure is voted into practice, there will also be zero state regulation. This means that producers and distributors of industrial hemp will most likely be left undisturbed by the state. However, the lack of state regulation could lead to more intrusive federal measures and potential seizures by the DEA. 8,9
Utah is already a hemp friendly state. Proposition 2 would simply expand that policy allowing for the use of medical marijuana. Some who oppose the measure are afraid that it will place too much control in the hands of the state and not the physicians themselves. This fear stems from the propositions use of pharmacies to dispense CBD as well as medical marijuana. Utah frames the proposition in this way because of a deal they worked out with the DEA. These pharmacies would be exempt from DEA oversight, therefore residents would not have to fear a crackdown on the state by the federal government—who has yet to allow either substance for medicinal purposes. Even if this proposition is not voted into practice, the state legislature promises to draft a bill legalizing medicinal marijuana as well. 10,11
Ohio and Wisconsin
Both of these Midwestern states are placing local and statewide measures on their ballots to decriminalize the possession of marijuana. The measures in these states would not go into actual law. Instead, they offer community leaders and the state government insight as to how the general public feels about punitive measures for the use or sale of marijuana. 12
- “Amendment X: Why an ‘industrial hemp’ Question on Colorado’s Ballot is Important to a Fledgling Agricultural Industry.” The Colorado Independent, October 2018. https://www.coloradoindependent.com/2018/10/22/industrial-hemp-colorado-constitution-statutory/
- “Amendment X in the 2018 Colorado Election: What to Know About the Definition of Industrial Hemp.” The Denver Rite, October 2018.https://denverite.com/…/amendment-x-in-the-2018-colorado-election-what-to-know/
- “Amendment X: Industrial Hemp Definition Explained.” Colorado Public Radio, October 2018. https://www.cpr.org/news/story/2018-election-amendment-x-industrial-hemp-definition-explained
- “Michigan Proposal 1, Marijuana Legalization Initiative.” Ballotpedia, November 2018. https://ballotpedia.org/Michigan_Proposal_1,_Marijuana_Legalization_Initiative_(2018)
- “Advisory Bulletin: Cannabidiol and Industrial Hemp Products.” Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), May 2018. https://www.michigan.gov/documents/lara/CBD_Hemp_Advisory_Bulletin_622872_7.pdf
- “Missouri Has Three Legalization Measures. Two Are Very Odd.” Leafly, September 2018. https://www.leafly.com/news/politics/missouri-has-three-legalization-measures-two-are-very-odd
- “Missouri 2018 Ballot Measures.” Ballotpedia, November 2018. https://ballotpedia.org/Missouri_2018_ballot_measures
- “Is CBD Legal in North Dakota? CBD Oil Land.” Is CBD Legal In North Dakota? – Best CBD Oils, Edibles, Pills and Tinctures In The USA
- “Official Ballot Language Appearing on The Election Ballot.” Vip.sos.nd.gov. https://vip.sos.nd.gov/pdfs/Measures%20Info/2018%20General/18GND%20Measure%20Ballot%20Text.pdf
- “Proposition 2: Utah Medical Cannabis Act.” ABU Education Fund, September 2018. http://abueducationfund.org/voter-guide/proposition2/
- “Utah Proposition 2: Medical Marijuana Initiative (2018).” Ballotpedia, November, 2018. https://ballotpedia.org/Utah_Proposition_2,_Medical_Marijuana_Initiative_(2018)
- “Leafly’s 2018 Midterm Election Update.” Leafly, October 2018. https://www.leafly.com/news/politics/leaflys-2018-midterm-election-marijuana-update