These States Voted to Legalize Weed on Election Day

Five states had cannabis legalization on the ballot during the midterm elections.

The midterm elections proved difficult to forecast for many experts. It was not, however, just political seats up for grabs in the election. Five states had measures on the ballot asking voters to decide on the legalization of adult-use cannabis.

Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota, and South Dakota all asked voters to voice their opinion on the legalization of weed. Two states voted in favor of legalization, joining 19 other states where the recreational use of cannabis has already been legalized. 

Here is what voters decided in 2022.


Arkansas voters rejected Issue 4 by a margin of 56.3% to 43.7%, per the New York Times. The measure would have allowed residents to purchase up to an ounce of cannabis from licensed retailers. It did not contain a plan to expunge criminal records for past convictions or to allow residents to grow plants at home.

In 2016, Arkansas voters legalized cannabis for medical use. Medical dispensaries first opened there in 2019, Axios reports.


Voters opted to pass the ballot measure, with 65.5% of voters in favor. Adults in Maryland will be allowed to possess up to 1.5 ounces or two plants starting on July 1, 2023, CNBC reports. Though, there is still a lot of work to be done. State lawmakers need to sort out details on licensing and taxation for cannabis in the state. 

The amendment will allow for the expungement of some records. It further creates a fund to help small businesses, including minority- and women-owned businesses, seeking to enter the cannabis industry. 


Missouri is the second state that approved cannabis legalization in 2022, with 53.1% of voters in favor of the measure. Amendment 3 "remove(s) state prohibitions on purchasing, possessing, consuming, using, delivering, manufacturing, and selling."

Provisions included in the measure include a 6% sales tax that will provide funds toward expungements, veteran health care, treatment, and Missouri's public defender system.

North Dakota

North Dakota voters rejected the measure set before them by a margin of 54.9% to 45.1%. It would have allowed residents to possess and purchase up to an ounce of cannabis.

This is the second time cannabis legalization has been rejected by voters in the state. In 2018, 59% of voters rejected the measure.

South Dakota

South Dakota also rejected the measure put to voters. It was defeated by a margin of 52.9% to 47.1%, per the New York Times.

It was a bit of a unique situation. In 2020, voters in South Dakota approved a constitutional amendment to legalize recreational cannabis use. The state Supreme Court later nullified the vote on technical grounds. They put it to a vote again this year, and voters rejected the measure.

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Dustin Nelson is a Senior Staff Writer at Thrillist. Follow Dustin on Twitter.