Two more states join the forward progression in legalizing recreational marijuana use for adults! Effective December 8, 2022, Maryland and Missouri will begin the first steps for production and sales, officially beginning their future progression.
During the general elections in November, citizens in Maryland and Missouri voted to legalize marijuana for recreational use in adults over the age of 21. While the vote has legalized marijuana, the first sales are not projected to begin until February of 2023 in both states.
In Maryland, the new law will also establish a process for expunging all marijuana possession cases where the individual was carrying less than 10 grams, provided that is the only charge at the time of arrest. Effective in January 2023, anyone carrying more than 2.5 ounces will receive a civil fine as opposed to a criminal penalty as previous decreed. As soon as the new law goes into effect, marijuana users may have and consume up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis flower, 12 grams of concentrated cannabis, or a total amount of cannabis products that does not exceed 750 mg THC. Of course, the official dates for purchasing or carrying may change, so keep an eye on updates, just in case.
In Missouri, the vote was close, but Amendment 3 passed with 53% of the votes to revise and amend the current medicinal marijuana laws to include recreational use for adults over 21 years of age.
The amendment states that adults may purchase, possess, consume, and cultivate marijuana for recreational use and even takes it one step further: The measure also provides employment protections for medicinal marijuana users and prohibits discrimination based on medical marijuana use, provided the user has a medical marijuana identification card and is not under the influence of marijuana while clocked in at work.
As of December 8th, consumers can officially possess up to 3 ounces of marijuana, however there are no dispensaries available in the state for recreational purchases until medical marijuana dispensaries update their licenses.
In both states, the first recreational marijuana sales are projected for February 2023, provided the timelines do not change as has happened with previous states. For anyone currently in these states, remember that you are not legally allowed to cross state lines with marijuana according to federal law, so you cannot purchase it out-of-state and bring it home!
Unfortunately, the November vote did not bring progress to all states with the bill on the ballot. Arkansas, North Dakota, and South Dakota voted against legalization, much to the disappointment of advocates in those states. Voters in Arkansas indicated there were far too many restrictions included in the proposal, but the bill may pass in the future, provided some adjustments are made. In North and South Dakota, the vote will likely not be presented again for some time, due to lack of overall support, either with the voters or with the state Supreme Courts.
As forward progress continues to take steps into the new year, Oklahoma has decided to ask their population to weigh in, and they have announced plans for a legalization vote on March 7, 2023.