10 November 2022 |

Post-Election results: which states legalized recreational cannabis?

By Kaitlin Domangue

2 out of 5 states legalize recreational cannabis in the 2022 mid-terms

Five states voted to legalize recreational cannabis, and as expected, not every state’s initiative passed.

Missouri – PASSED

This is a special one.

I was among the 53.1% Missourians who said YES to recreational cannabis on Tuesday. 46.9% of voters said no, so it was a close race. 

I said yes to medical cannabis in Missouri four years ago, hoping to access regulated cannabis products. I hadn’t embarked on my cannabis career yet. 

I said yes to recreational cannabis on Tuesday, with over three years of cannabis business experience. I approached the vote in a new light, which was an honor and incredibly special to me. 

The bill allows social equity applicants to operate through micro business licenses, and existing medical cannabis operators can easily convert to recreational businesses.

February 6th is the earliest Missouri recreational sales will begin, with micro businesses likely launching closer to 2024. 

Maryland – PASSED

Of all five states voting for recreational cannabis, predictions favored Maryland to have the best odds. 

And it did, in a landslide victory. 65.5% of Maryland voters said yes to recreational cannabis, and 34.5% voted against the measure, making it the most significant gap between voters who were for the initiative and those who were against it. 

Regulations for the adult-use program will be in place by July 1st, 2023, and sales might start in 2025. But – it will be well worth the wait. Predictions estimate Maryland’s cannabis market could reach $1 billion.

South Dakota – FAILED

South Dakota passed medical and recreational cannabis in 2020, but Gov. Kristi Noem overturned the recreational initiative on a technicality through a lawsuit. 

So I was pretty surprised when South Dakota didn’t legalize recreational cannabis this time, considering they said yes in 2022. 52.85% of South Dakota voters said no, and 47.15% said yes – and it makes sense why.

This vote was different because recreational cannabis stood on the ballot alone, unlike in 2020, when medical and recreational cannabis were paired. 

The Presidential election also draws more young voters than the mid-terms do, and an older demographic is less likely to say yes to legal cannabis. 

North Dakota – FAILED

The Dakotas have spoken. Recreational cannabis was a miss in North Dakota, too.

55% of North Dakota’s voters said no, and 45% said yes. Most polls predicted the initiative would be defeated or, at the very least, a very close race. 

North Dakota’s adult-use market could have generated up to $100 million in revenue during its first year of operation and up to $285 million in the fourth year, according to MJBizDaily. 

Arkansas – FAILED

Arkansas had the least favorable odds out of all five states on Tuesday’s ballot, so the failed initiative isn’t a huge surprise. 

56.3% of Arkansas voters said no to legal cannabis, over 500,000 people. Roughly 389,000 people, or 43.7%, voted for Issue 4. 

The bill was pretty strict and didn’t allow home grows, it didn’t offer expungement for past cannabis offenses, and there weren’t social equity provisions for future operators – I’m not sure I would have voted for it. 

Arkansas promised an improved proposal in the 2024 ballot. 

Lowell Farms sales drop 34%

Lowell Farms released its unaudited revenue and operating numbers from Q3 2022. Revenue fell 34% from the last quarter and 31% from last year. 

The company noted a change in how it accounts for slotting fees, stating, “Previously, these fees had been booked as sales & marketing expenses and are now being treated as a deduction from revenues. The change in the accounting resulted in a $0.7m reduction in Q3 revenues, $0.4m of which was related to prior periods.”

Lowell Farms is currently the #1 selling pre-roll brand in California

While sales decreased, net loss improved. Lowell Farms recorded an $8.7 net loss in Q3 2021, compared to $4.8 million in Q3 2022. The company also offers the number one-selling non-infused pre-roll after releasing the Lowell 35s in September. 

“While these unaudited results are not in line with expectations, we remain confident moving into 2023 and beyond,” Chairman of the Board George Allen said. “The successful launch and positive reception that our 35’s pre-roll brand has enjoyed gives us great confidence, as the market share for this coveted new product has increased substantially since the launch in September.”

Delta-8 case tossed by a federal court 

The owner of a hemp shop, Murray Dines, filed a lawsuit in June after the store was raided in April. $120,000 of delta-8 THC products were destroyed by police. 

The lawsuit was against Kansas City’s governor and attorney general, as the attorney general maintains that delta-8 is illegal. The governor asked to be removed from the suit. 

A federal judge threw out the lawsuit and agreed with the state officials that the 2018 Farm Bill, which removed hemp from the list of Scheduled Substances, doesn’t make hemp-derived products like Delta-8 legal. 

“In short, no part of the 2018 Farm Act demonstrates an unmistakable focus to benefit the plaintiff or other unlicensed possessors and sellers of hemp products,” the judge ruled. 

“The 2018 Farm Act does not create a private right for the plaintiff to (possess) and sell hemp and hemp products, either under Section 1983 or as an implied cause of action under the 2018 Farm Act itself.”

Delta-8 has been under major scrutiny, especially over the last year, as it’s relatively new to the market. Recently, a Virginia mother was charged with murder after ingesting delta-8 gummies – fueling critics of delta-8 even further.