The Odds on More US States Legalizing Recreational Weed

Measures legalizing cannabis use are up for a vote in five states on Nov. 8. (Image:

Since 2012, 19 US states have legalized recreational marijuana use. Which will be next to tax and regulate it? Five states have it on the ballot this election: Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Handicapper Dan Kilbridge, of the sports betting website, set the odds.

Maryland’s Grassroots Support

Maryland is the most likely state to legalize this election cycle, according to Kilbridge. He set the odds of its Question 4 passing at -500 with a probability of 83.33 percent. This was based on a study by the Washington Post and University of Maryland, which found 73 percent support for recreational cannabis. Passage would bring the state into statutory line with its neighbor, Washington DC, where recreational weed has been legal since 2014. Maryland’s amendment would take effect in July 2023, rendering possession, use, and private growing (up to a certain amount) no longer a crime.

Home to Another Bud

Considering that Missouri’s Anheuser-Busch even sells cannabis products in states where it’s legal, Kilbridge thinks the Show-Me State is ready. Though prior attempts to legalize recreational cannabis here have failed, Missouri legalized medical marijuana in 2018. So its odds of passing Amendment 3 are set at -150 with a 60 percent probability.

Even Dakota Money

Kilbridge gives the same relatively even odds to both North and South Dakota: -110 with a 52.38 percent probability of recreational pot measures passing in each state. This alone may be enough to make residents of both states – who are always claiming how different they are from one another – want to get legally high.

North Dakota voters overwhelming rejected legalized recreational weed in 2018, to the tune of 59 percent. However, according to, strong opposition from the state’s wealthy oil industry played a part in defeating Measure 3. This time, however, the North Dakota Petroleum Council told the Associated Press that it won’t pay to try to defeat recreational cannabis. At the same time, pro-cannabis groups have raised much more money.

Legal recreational weed actually passed in South Dakota in 2020, by 54 percent. However, that measure was struck down when the State Supreme Court – siding with a lawsuit from Republican Gov. Kristi Noem – decided that it violated the state’s constitution. Noem is up for re-election this year.

Where Weed Will be Whacked

Don’t count on cannabis stores opening in Little Rock anytime soon. Though Arkansas approved medical marijuana in 2016, set the odds of its Issue 4 passing at only +180, with a 35.71 percent likelihood.

“There are complicated politics in play for the 2022 vote,” the website explained, noting that, so far, no deep red state has legalized recreational weed, and that even some pro-pot people are against Issue 4. (Its restrictive terms would grant 80 recreational licenses to existing medical marijuana dispensaries, using a lottery to license only 40 others.)


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