ST. LOUIS — Voters aren’t just choosing between candidates this Election Day. There are 155 ballot measures being considered in 37 states on issues ranging from a carbon tax to expanding access to marijuana.
In Missouri, voters have to decide between Republican Josh Hawley and Democrat Claire McCaskill for Senate. But as CBS News correspondent Dean Reynolds reports, they’re also weighing whether medical marijuana should be legalized. There are three distinct measures, and the differences between the proposals include the ability for patients to grow their own medical cannabis and the tax rates for the product.
Medical marijuana is on the ballot in Utah, while Michigan could approve recreational pot. In North Dakota, a ballot proposal would decriminalize the sale and possession of marijuana for people over 21. A yes by all four states means medical marijuana use would be legal in 33 states, and recreational use would be legal in 11.
In 2014, recreational marijuana first went on sale in Colorado, after voters there approved what was called the “Great Experiment.” Since then, recreational pot became legal in nine states plus the District of Columbia. The marijuana industry has also become a success, with legal cannabis projecting to reach more than $10 billion in sales this year.
But opponents of legalization have pointed to an increase of use among teenagers. In a letter to Colorado’s governor last year, Attorney General Jeff Sessions cited a federal study showing marijuana use by young people in in the state increased 20 percent since legalization. But the study also tracked use through 2016, eventually showing a decline.
Other ballot initiatives include a chance for voters in Florida to restore voting rights to most felons finished with their sentences. Roughly 1.5 million people could alter the 2020 election. It needs a 60 percent majority
Idaho, Nebraska and Utah — all deep red states — will vote on whether to expand Medicaid for low-income Americans as provided by the Affordable Care Act. Montanans did it three years ago and will decide whether to keep it that way.
Voters in Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Nevada, North Carolina and Oklahoma will consider the so-called Marsy’s Law, making it a constitutional right for crime victims to be notified when their perpetrator is released from prison.
Some of these initiatives could propel more voters to the polls and some may suggest that voters are simply tired of legislative gridlock and are taking Democracy into their own hands.