Featuring field reports from Max Savage Levenson, Amelia Williams, David Downs, Calvin Stovall, Janessa Bailey, and Pat Goggins.
Legalization 2022: Welcome to Leafly’s live coverage
Here we are: Election Day. Welcome, friends.
All day long, Leafly’s news team provides rolling updates, vote totals, quotes, memes, tweets, posts, and random entertaining bits to keep your anxiety at bay and your chill level cool.
Bookmark Leafly’s election page and return often. No matter what your political persuasion, we’ll provide good news and glad tidings. Legalization is marching on!
What’s at stake today
Five statewide adult use marijuana legalization measures go before voters today. In Colorado, voters are considering a statewide medical psychedelics legalization measure.
Updated Nov. 8 voting results now coming in
Each measure needs 50.01% to win. Results are updated as soon as state officials release the first totals. Latest results as of 10:44 p.m. PST below.
The links below lead to full Leafly guides to the individual state measures. Here’s how they’ve fared tonight.
Arkansas: Amendment 98, marijuana legalization—❌ Measure failed.
Colorado: Proposition 122, medical psychedelics legalization—? Undecided.
Maryland: Question 4, marijuana legalization—✅ Measure passed.
Missouri: Amendment 3, marijuana legalization—✅ Measure passed.
North Dakota: Measure 2, marijuana legalization —❌ Measure failed.
South Dakota: Initiated Measure 27, marijuana legalization— ❌ Measure failed.
—Updated 10:44 p.m. PST
Percentage marked denotes votes to approve legalization.
Full wrap-up is live, thanks everyone
2:00 p.m. PST 11.9—The smoke has cleared a bit, and we’ve thought about what the 2022 midterm elections mean for cannabis. Click on over to our day 2 stories: America hits 21 legalization states after roaring midterm elections, and Fetterman takes PA Senate seat with pro-420 stance.
Here’s the new US map. Legalization is doing a pincer move on the south and midwest.
And in conclusion, enjoy this fine headline from The Onion.
Colorado ends night too close to call
11:05 p.m. PST—We sign off for the night on the West Coast with two new legalization states—bringing the total to 21—as well as the new Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman. Colorado’s psychedelics initiative remains too close to call, so we’ll pick up the reporting tomorrow. The final tally of states is above. Links to what happens next in Missouri and Maryland are below. Thanks, everyone for reading along. We’ll have follow-up reporting in the morning.—David Downs
Los Angeles County will approve cannabis stores—finally
10:36 p.m. PST—Los Angeles’ embarrassing, botched implementation of legalization Proposition 64 from 2016 gets a bit better. LA County Measure C is on its way to victory in early returns. Tax measures like these are often successful and usually precede the opening of stores. At least 28 California cities and counties are tallying votes on allowing cannabis licenses. Up to 150 new cannabis business licenses could result from tonight’s votes. Those outlets should help decrease California’s retail bottleneck, which is strangling the 4-year-old industry. California has fewer cannabis outlets than Oklahoma.—David Downs
NORML says Missouri is a big W for legalization
10:13 p.m. PST—Is Missouri the 21st legalization state in US history? With 88% of the vote counted, legalization has a commanding 53.2% lead on Politico. I think they cinched it. We’re putting it in the win column—a huge, logical win as legalization marches eastward.—David Downs
Pennsylvania says yes to Gov. John Fetterman
10:07 p.m. PST—US Senate candidate and legalization advocate John Fetterman has tweeted that he’s won Pennsylvania’s crucial Senate seat. Politico has Fetterman at 49.5% to Dr. Oz’s 48.1% with 84% of votes counted. NBC News called the race at 1 a.m. local time Wednesday morning for Fetterman. If it holds, it’ll be among the most stunning wins of the night. —David Downs& Max Savage Levenson
Top of the message board on Election Day
10:01 p.m. PST—Let’s look around the net for fun notes and errata from election day. Man, freedom tastes sweet on Reddit’s home the ents—r/trees.
Also, we’re stoned, and we vote! Fun fact: Cannabis legalization polls better than any party or candidate.
North Dakota officially fails for 2022
9:58 p.m. PST—It’s small ball, but Politico and others have officially declared North Dakota’s marijuana initiative a dud. More than 69% of voters have spoken and the initiative has a 10-point gap to close. —David Downs
NYT calls a Fetterman victory “very likely” in PA
9:29 p.m.—Well, it ain’t quite over yet, but the New York Times projects positive news for Pennsylvania’s biggest friend of the herb, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D). With 85% of the vote counted, Fetterman leads his opponent, Dr. Mehmet Oz, by one percentage point. Still too early to call, though. Results could take days.—Max Savage Levenson
Texas legalization advances at the local level
9:30 p.m. PST—Looks like Beto O’Rourke won’t be governor of Texas, but Texans in four central cities can sleep easier knowing they decriminalized local cannabis possession up to 2 oz (4 oz for San Marcos), sort of. Early voting results indicate San Marcos, Elgin, Harker Heights, and Killeen have all approved Proposition A with margins ranging from approximately 68% to roughly 81% in favor.
Prop A prevents law enforcement from prosecuting Class A or Class B misdemeanor possession of marijuana offenses, though there are some exceptions, such as felony investigations. This follows Austin’s overwhelming approval of the same measure back in May 2022. This isn’t necessarily a guarantee that the cities will implement Prop A, however; in Harker Heights, the city council has the final say on implementing the measure. Bell County (where Killeen is located) Attorney Jim Nichols said in an interview with 6 News back in August that the ordinance does not empower the City of Killeen to change how cannabis possession charges get handled, as jurisdiction falls to the County Attorney’s Office.—Amelia Williams
Legal cannabis leader Gov. Gavin Newsom cruises to victory
9:18 p.m. PST—One of the most prominent national advocates for legalization, California Gov. Gavin Newsom has cruised to reelection over Republican challenger Brian Dahle, according to Politico. Gov. Newsom steered the state through COVID and presided over a $97 billion budget surplus in 2022. We expect Gov. Newsom to advocate for national legalization as well as interstate commerce pacts with other legalization states. Here’s the Governor of the 4th largest economy in the world shouting out Oaksterdam University this fall.
Check out Rhode Island opting in!
9:16 p.m. PST—In Rhode Island, 31 municipalities were voting on measures that would allow licensed and regulated cannabis stores in their communities.
The verdict: When voters say they want legal, regulated weed, they really mean it.
Nearly all municipalities approved the licensing of stores in their towns.
This map published by the Providence Journal gives you an idea of the win. Green sections represent municipalities that voted to allow stores.
Colorado’s Prop. 122 has an ace up its sleeve: Denver County
11:33 p.m. EST—As more votes are tallied, Colorado’s Prop. 122, which would legalize the regulated use of psychedelics, is approaching 50-50 land.
With 62% of votes counted, Prop. 122 sits at 51% approval.
But here’s the thing: A number of larger counties still have plenty of votes left out there. Not all of them are breaking for approval. But the big friendly giant on the block, Denver County, is going large for approval (64%), and 60% of Denver County’s votes have yet to be counted.
We’re expecting this race to remain tight for another hour before Denver County puts approval over the top.
Will St. Louis County put legalization over the top?
11:22 p.m. EST—It’s still tight in Missouri, with 53% of voters approving marijuana legalization (with 68% of votes counted), but the trend favors approval. St. Louis County, the state’s largest, still has 40% of its votes to count—and voters in that county are running 60-40 in favor of legalization.
It’s the same story in Jackson County, which still has 30% of its votes to count and a tally running almost 70-30 in favor of legalization. More rural counties that voted heavily against legalization just don’t have the remaining numbers to overcome those two population centers.
South Dakota support is stuck at 46%
11:13 p.m. EST—With 44% of the vote counted, South Dakota’s marijuana legalization measure remains behind. More than 54% of voters are rejecting Measure 27, and it’s getting late.
Missouri legalization: Heading to overtime?
11:07 p.m. EST—With 50% of the vote now counted, Missouri’s Amendment 3 is maintaining a slight lead, with 51% of voters approving the marijuana legalization measure.
If things continue to trend toward 50-50, we may not know the outcome on this one until tomorrow morning, folks.
Colorado psychedelics legalization holding steady at 53%
11:04 p.m. EST—With nearly 60% of votes tallied, Colorado’s Prop. 122, which legalizes psychedelics, is holding steady with 53% approval.
** NORTH DAKOTA: Legalization measure fails **
10:56 p.m. EST—With 66% of all county precincts reporting, it’s time to call the race in North Dakota. Measure 2, the initiative to legalize the adult use of cannabis, has failed, with 55% of voters rejecting the proposal.
North Dakota surprised us with its medical marijuana legalization win in 2016, and it continues to surprise us—this time with a resounding vote against adult-use legalization.
Marijuana Policy Project salutes Maryland
10:50 p.m. EST—Marijuana Policy Project officials took a moment to celebrate Tuesday night.
“The passage of Question 4 is a huge victory for criminal justice reform and racial justice in Maryland. It will save thousands of Marylanders from arrests and further criminalization for cannabis possession, and it will begin to repair the decades of harm cannabis prohibition has caused, disproportionately in communities of color, by expunging records and reinvesting back into those communities,” said Olivia Naugle, senior policy analyst at the Marijuana Policy Project. “We look forward to working closely with Maryland lawmakers to ensure that the implementation of legalization is centered around equity.”
Maryland brings the total to 20 states with cannabis legalization for adults 21 and over, while 37 states have legalized medical cannabis.
** ARKANSAS: Legalization measure fails **
10:44 p.m. EST—With 60% of the vote tallied, Arkansas voters have resoundingly rejected Issue 4, the cannabis legalization measure. As more counties report their vote totals, the 57% “No” vote is only strengthening.
We’re calling this one a loss for legalization in Arkansas.
Big tallies in St. Louis pushing Missouri into winning form
10:37 p.m. EST—With a big push from St. Louis, which is voting heavily in favor of legalization, Missouri’s Amendment 3 finally moved above 50% tonight, and now holds a 52% to 48% advantage with 42% of votes counted.
Good news on a gloomy night: Colorado psychedelics legalization is leading
10:12 p.m. EST—Leave it to Colorado to brighten up our night: With nearly 30% of precincts reporting, 54% of voters are approving that state’s groundbreaking psychedelics legalization measure.
Looking like a rough night for legalization, folks
10:06 p.m. EST—No way to sugar-coat this: It’s looking like only one of the five statewide cannabis legalization measures will pass for sure tonight.
Maryland’s legalization measure is cruising to victory with 65% approval.
In Missouri, the race is tightening as more votes are counted, but there’s still a wide deficit to make up, with the vote running roughly 55% against legalization.
In North Dakota, South Dakota, and Arkansas, it’s looking like a washout, with none of those states reaching higher than 46% approval as of 10 p.m. EST.
We’ll keep watching—and hoping for the tide to turn in Missouri—but this is starting to look like the first true butt-whipping the legalization movement has suffered at the polls since the first adult-use measures passed in 2012.
Arkansas leaning against legalization in early results
9:51 p.m. EST—With just 3% of precincts reporting, it’s looking like a tough go in Arkansas tonight. So far votes are running 57% against Issue 4, which would legalize cannabis statewide for all adults.
Missouri tightening as more votes arrive
9:48 p.m. EST—What began as a 60-40 loss for legalization has tightened to a 55-45 deficit, as a majority of Missouri votes continue to roll in rejecting the state’s legalization bid. As of 9:48 p.m., 7% of precincts had reported their results.
** WINNER: Maryland passes marijuana legalization **
9:38 p.m. EST—We’ve seen enough. We’re calling Maryland a win for legalization.
As of 9:38 p.m. Eastern time, with nearly 30% of precincts reporting, a resounding 65% of voters have approved Question 4, which will legalize cannabis statewide for all adults 21 and older.
Maryland now becomes the 20th state to adopt full recreational marijuana legalization.
Here’s what happens next, Maryland.
Maryland approval holding up as more votes arrive
9:30 p.m. EST—Maryland may be the night’s big winner, as 65% of voters continue to approve Question 4, the constitutional amendment legalizing marijuana. We’ve now got 23% of precincts reporting, and the 65-35 split seems to be holding strong.
Early Missouri returns split 60/40 against legalization
9:27 p.m. EST—With fewer than 1% of precincts reporting, we’re seeing 60% of voters rejecting Missouri’s marijuana legalization amendment. That’s a tiny fraction of the vote. Hang on until we get some more precincts reporting.
North Dakota delivering resounding “No” on legalization
9:20 p.m. EST—With 10% of precincts reporting, North Dakota voters are giving a big thumbs-down to adult-use legalization—60% of voters are rejecting Measure 2, with only 40% approving.
Maryland voters crushing it for legalization
9:14 p.m. EST—Tonight’s first results from Maryland: 65% in favor of legalization, 35% opposed. That’s with only 2% of precincts reporting, so it’s still very early.
First results from South Dakota: 49/51 soooo close
9:06 p.m. EST—In the evening’s first legalization results, it’s turning out to be a squeaker in South Dakota.
It’s early. With only 2% (12 of 687 precincts) reporting, we’ve got 51% of voters rejecting marijuana legalization, and 49% approving.
Hang on, we’ll know more as more precincts report.
Voting hours: Polls are now closed in legalization races
Here are the voting times for the five cannabis legalization states in play.
|State||Polls open||Polls close|
|Arkansas||7:30 a.m.||7:30 p.m. NOW CLOSED|
|Colorado||7:00 a.m.||7:00 p.m. NOW CLOSED|
|Maryland||7 a.m.||8 p.m. NOW CLOSED|
|Missouri||6 a.m.||7 p.m. NOW CLOSED|
|North Dakota||Varies by county, check here.||Varies by county, check . All voting ends by 9 p.m.|
|South Dakota||7 a.m.||7 p.m. NOW CLOSED|
While you wait, read up on Minnesota’s bananas “weed legalization” parties
8:47 p.m. EST—Charlie, a Twitter user from Minnesota, writes in with a question:
Excellent question, Charlie. The answer has to do with Minnesota’s absolutely bonkers tradition of third (and fourth, and fifth) parties and how they manage to land on the ballot. Minnesota has not one but two cannabis legalization “parties,” but year after year they manage to do more harm than good.
In fact, in the 2020 election they managed to keep the Minnesota legislature in the hands of Republicans (by a single vote), thereby sinking the actual passage of cannabis legalization in Minnesota. True story. You can read all about it in Dave Howard’s Leafly feature here.
No, nobody has actual results yet.
8:38 p.m. EST—This is the time on Election Day where the polls have closed and zero returns have been released. Relax. Breathe. Light one up.
AP says Maryland’s new governor is a legalization advocate
8:04 p.m. EST—The Associated Press has called the Maryland governor’s race for Democrat Wes Moore (see item on him below). Moore has an A rating from NORML and will be a critical part of the state’s new adult-use legalization rollout, if voters approve it tonight.
We’re almost there!
We’re almost at the finish line, folks.
Polls close in Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota, and South Dakota in 20 minutes, at 8 p.m. EST.
Arkansas will close its polls 30 minutes later, and Colorado will call it a day a further 30 minutes after that, at 9 p.m. EST.
Up to celebrate? MO’s Amendment 3 supporters gather in Ballpark Village in St. Louis tonight
Don’t be crabby: Maryland poised to elect pro-legalization candidate Wes Moore as governor
If legalization passes in Maryland today—as experts widely anticipate—state lawmakers will still need to write the bulk of the regulatory and licensing framework for the program.
Fortunately, the program will likely be in the hands of pro-reform gubernatorial candidate Wes Moore (D). The author and investment banker received an A rating from NORML, while his opponent, Republican Dan Cox, received an F. In a statement to NORML, Moore’s campaign said that he would “expunge the records of anyone convicted of simple possession, and prioritize equitable access to this emerging industry.”
Recent polls estimate that Moore has a 30 point advantage over Cox.
—Max Savage Levenson
Anything is possible: 10 years ago in Colorado and Washington
Homegrowing could expand in four more states
Four states on Tuesday’s ballot have regulations to allow homegrowing—Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota, and South Dakota (sorry Arkansas). This is a positive shift in the mindsets of lawmakers, in terms of breaking down cannabis stigmas and reversing the War on Drugs.
Of the 40 adult-use and medical states that have cannabis laws, only 24 allow homegrowing. Homegrowing is treated similarly to manufacturing or distributing hard drugs. That’s why penalties for growing your own weed are some of the harshest, including several years in jail and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines in some states.
Most states with homegrowing allow 4-6 plants, or up to 12 in some, hardly enough to fuel the illicit market, a common concern from anti-homegrow lawmakers. Kids won’t steal the neighbor’s crop either, another common concern, as homegrow laws usually mandate that crops be kept hidden and locked up. (Also, you can’t get high from eating raw weed.)
Allowing homegrowing is important to medical patients who may need larger quantities of cannabis for their conditions, and who may not be able to travel to dispensaries. But ultimately, allowing homegrowing prevents further criminalization of the plant and incarcerating people for growing their own, even in states where it’s legal for sale and possession.
Snoop’s got a message for you, Arkansas and Missouri
Fetterman vs. Oz won’t be decided for days
In Pennsylvania’s hotly contested Senate race, Democrat John Fetterman has made cannabis legalization a central point of his campaign, while his opponent, Republican Mehmet Oz, argues that smoking weed prevents you from holding down a job. So it’s a closely watched race for a lot of 420-friendly voters.
Alas, we may not know for a few days whether Fetterman will have the chance to advocate for legalization in the US Senate, thanks to Republican litigation that will require election workers to closely monitor ballots, to ensure that no one votes twice.
The GOP lawsuit enforces the policy solely in Philadelphia, not across the state. According to the Washington Post, court records show that in the past three elections, the process has not turned up a single instance of double voting.
—Max Savage Levenson
Two-thirds of Oregon voting on psilocybin today, again
Many Oregonians are voting on whether to allow the medical use of psilocybin today—again. The state passed Measure 109 in 2020 to allow the medical use of psilocybin, and psilocybin clinics and retreats are set to open in Oregon sometime early next year.
But about two-thirds of counties and municipalities in the Beaver state are voting whether to keep medical psilocybin legal in their localities today.
Opting-out frequently happens in states that legalize cannabis. For example, 62% of California counties ban the sale of cannabis despite it being legal at the state level.
Many cite the fear that the powerful substance might become as widely available as cannabis. However, psilocybin in Oregon will be much more controlled—it will only be provided by licensed facilitators in approved service centers.
The good news is, there doesn’t appear to be a campaign or strong push for the opt-out vote, and some counties seem to be rallying to strike down the opt-out votes.
Hey, Rhode Island is voting on legalization too!
Don’t sleep on Rhode Island today. Although RI has already legalized statewide, today’s local ballots will include measures allowing or banning regulated cannabis stores in 31 local municipalities.
These are classic opt-out votes, where a state legalizes but a local town reinstates prohibition—and supports local illicit weed sales—by not allowing any local stores. It’s an issue Leafly investigated in our Opt Out Report published in September.
The towns with local regulation on the ballot include: Barrington, Bristol, Burrillville, Charlestown, Coventry, Cumberland, East Greenwich, East Providence, Glocester, Hopkinton, Jamestown, Johnston, Lincoln, Little Compton, Middletown, Narragansett, Newport, New Shoreham, North Kingstown, North Providence, North Smithfield, Richmond, Scituate, Smithfield, South Kingstown, Tiverton, Warren, Westerly, West Greenwich, West Warwick, and Woonsocket.
South Dakota vote likely to be very tight
Legalizing cannabis in South Dakota has been a monumental challenge.
Despite voting in favor of adult-use legalization in 2020, a 2021 lawsuit led by Gov. Kristi Noem (R) limited it to only medical marijuana. The new ballot measure, Initiated Measure 27, needs 50.01% of the vote to pass to allow adult-use possession and limited home grow.
How’s it looking? An early October poll by researchers at South Dakota State University, called the 2022 South Dakota Election Study, indicates a tight race, with voters leaning opposed. 47% of surveyed likely voters were opposed to recreational cannabis, with 45% in favor and a critical 8% undecided.
Colorado psychedelics legalization gaining in late polls
How will Colorado voters react to a bid to legalize the medical use of psychedelics? Late October polling by FOX31 / Channel 2 / Emerson College Polling / The Hill showed a marked uptick in approval for Proposition 122, the statewide initiative that would decriminalize entheogens (psychedelic plants and fungi).
Of the survey respondents, 43% said they would support Prop 122, while 44.2% said they would oppose it. Another 12.8% said they remained undecided.
A different poll taken in September tallied 23% of voters as undecided, with 36% in favor and 41% opposed. So we may be seeing a trend here where voters who haven’t paid much attention to the issue start thinking about it—and tending to support it rather than oppose it.
Texas cities voting to decriminalize marijuana today
Four Central Texas cities are voting today on measures that would decriminalize small amounts of cannabis possession within their jurisdictions.
Those cities would join Austin, whose residents voted—by a whopping 85%—to decriminalize the possession of marijuana flower within the city limits back in May 2022.
Oklahoma’s legalization vote coming March 7, 2023
There’s one state missing from today’s weed vote-a-rama: Oklahoma.
Even though cannabis legalization proponents gathered enough signatures earlier this year to put SQ 820 on the midterm ballot, a series of (debatably intentional) administrative setbacks forced the state to push the vote off the Nov. 8 ballot.
The issue will appear on a special election ballot on March 7, 2023.
Sure, it’s a ways off, but we look forward to covering OK’s legalization vote next spring.
— Max Savage Levenson
Big John coming out strong for legalization in Arkansas
Legendary golfer John Daly, one of the most beloved figures in the Razorback State, posted a strong message in favor of Issue 4, cannabis legalization, on the eve of the election. “It’s been done in 19 other states and the sky didn’t fall,” he says.
The beard don’t lie.
Arkansas poll predicts loss for legalization
No easy way to spin this one: The Arkansas Poll, taken by a team at the University of Arkansas, predicts a significant loss for that state’s legalization measure. Previous polls have shown a tight 50-50 race, but this new poll found that 60% of voters oppose Issue 4.
The one bright spot: The average age of respondents to the survey was 63. As a rule, the older the age demographic the less likely a voter is to support legalization.
In Maryland: Already preparing for a legal market?
One week prior to Election Day, the Maryland House of Delegates’ Cannabis Referendum and Legalization work group reviewed a report on the state’s potential legal industry. In other words, they’re getting prepared for Question 4 to pass.
As Maryland Matters reporter William J. Ford noted, “if voters approve legalization by voting for Question 4, more work would have to be done, such as altering civil and criminal cannabis-related penalties, establishing a fund to assist small and minority-owned businesses and establishing a health advisory council to assess, study and promote public health campaigns on cannabis.”
“We know that the cannabis industry is a profitable industry,” said Mathew Swinburne, the report’s author. “This is a new industry that is filled with economic opportunity and that opportunity is only growing,” he told Maryland Matters. “Although this industry presents some significant economic opportunities, communities of color are missing out on this cannabis boom.”
Rick Steves, legalization hero
Every two years Rick Steves, the PBS travel show star, donates significant amounts of his own cash and copious chunks of time to campaign for legalization measures on the ballot. Partnering with NORML, he barnstorms state to state to appear on the local TV and radio stations that actually reach undecided voters. Rick Steves opens minds and changes votes.
Here’s a clip of him in action recently in North Dakota.
Meanwhile, things are trending up in Missouri
A much more recent Survey USA poll (taken Nov. 1) found that 61% of Missouri voters surveyed said they planned to vote for cannabis legalization. The poll asked 791 likely voters, so it’s not an enormous sample size, but it does bode well.