Recreational cannabis use will be legal in 21 US states and Washington D.C. after Maryland and Missouri voted in favour of the move.

Five states put adult-use on the ballot, in varying forms, in this week’s midterm elections, with Arkansas, North and South Dakota all rejecting the proposal. 

Medicinal cannabis is already legal in each jurisdiction.

In Maryland, it will be legal for adults aged 21-plus to possess up to 1.5 ounces or two cannabis plants from July 1, 2023. The move allows for the records of people arrested for possession to be expunged and for those serving prison sentences to have their sentences reconsidered.

A cannabis business assistance fund will be established for small, minority and women-owned businesses entering the industry. Lawmakers will now decide on licensing and taxation.

With 82% of votes in, 65.6% had voted in favour of the move, with 34.4% against.

In Missouri, adults aged 21-plus will be able to purchase and possess up to three ounces of cannabis and grow up to six plants at home.

A 6% sales tax will fund the automatic expungement of certain non-violent cannabis offences, veterans’ healthcare, substance misuse treatment and the public defender system.

Almost 150 new small business licences will be allocated via a lottery system, adding to those already licensed for medicinal cannabis.

With 89% of the vote counted, 53.1% had voted for the measure, with 46.9% against.

With 95% of the voted counted in Arkansas, North and South Dakota, the measure had been voted down by 56.3% to 43.7%, 54.9% to 45.1% and 52.9% to 47.1% respectively.

Voters in Oklahoma will get their chance to decide on the matter in a special election in March 2023.

Prior to launching Cannabiz, Martin was co-founder and CEO of Asia-Pac’s leading B2B media and marketing information brand Mumbrella, overseeing its sale to Diversified Communications in 2017. A journalist...

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