Several marijuana legalization ballots have been proposed for the 2022 election in November, including Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, North Dakota and South Dakota. Although the marijuana industry did not achieve its goal of nationwide legalization by 2020, its current strategy targets the center of the country. Then the rest of the nation will need to follow suit, so they think.
If Missouri passes legalization and Wisconsin activists get their way, it will mess up Governor JB Pritzker’s plan to make Illinois the cannabis capital of the Midwest. He depends on out-of-staters, who purchase at least 30% of the weed in Illinois, to prop up his struggling program. Cannabis stores near the borders of Wisconsin, Missouri, Indiana and Kentucky can make the most money.
Illinois, the first state to legalize by state legislature, demonstrates exactly what happens to public safety after legalization. After pot shops opened for recreational purposes on 1/1/2020, traffic deaths increased by 32%. There were 1,010 traffic fatalities in 2019, but that number rose to 1,196 in 2020. The numbers jumped again in 2021, the second year of recreational cannabis, with 1,342 deaths. Illinois has the third highest unemployment rate in the country and the cannabis industry isn’t making a dent. Several large companies have moved or plan to move to other states.
SAM Organizes the Opposition
To head off the ballots, Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) has taken some actions. SAM allies filed a allies filed a petition to the Arkansas Supreme Court asking the court to uphold the Arkansas Board of Electors’ rejection of the marijuana legalization ballot measure.
In Missouri, SAM allies filed a petition to block the state’s legalization ballot measure, arguing improper certification. SAM Executive Vice President, Luke Niforatos, with his new SAM sister organization, Protect Our Kids, leads the effort along with a longtime friend of SAM.
In South Dakota, Protect Our Kids is mobilizing a diverse ballot committee to oppose the ballot measure. The measure would legalize home growing and possession of marijuana.
Maryland, the only state outside of the central region, will also have a ballot initiative.
How can parents help?
Join your state’s Parents Opposed to Pot Group Facebook Group to read and share stories of increased danger after legalization.
In states with legal marijuana, the kids always get into the very high-potency cannabis products sold in pot shops. High-potency products, including edibles, dabs and vapes, bare no resemblance to old-fashioned “Woodstock weed.”
Please also join SAM’s Parent Action Network, or become part of the Every Brain Matters Community and educate others with Johnny’s Ambassadors. If you can’t find the online links to these organizations, please contact Heidi@learnaboutsam.org.