While marijuana reform efforts continue at an excruciatingly slow pace in state legislatures (Vermont became the first state to free the weed at the statehouse just last month), the initiative and referendum process continues to serve as a direct popular vote alternative to the crapshoot that is trying to get a pot bill through two houses and signed by a governor.
At least six states have a serious shot at legalizing either recreational marijuana or medical marijuana via the initiative process this year. In one state, a medical marijuana initiative has already qualified for the ballot; in another, plentiful signatures have been handed in for a legalization initiative; and in three others, signature gathering campaigns are well underway. In the last state, a legalization initiative hasn’t been officially filed yet, but already has serious financial backing.
By the time we get past election day, we should be looking at a legalization victory in at least one more state and medical marijuana victories damned near anywhere an initiative manages to get on the ballot. In the last election cycle, marijuana reform initiatives won in eight out of nine contests.
Here are the 2018 contenders.
1. Michigan: Marijuana Legalization
The Michigan Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has already completed a petition campaign and handed in more than 365,000 raw signatures in November