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Cannabis Legalization Gets Mixed Results

FILE - This photo taken on Sept. 16, 2022 shows a view of a cannabis leaf.
FILE - This photo taken on Sept. 16, 2022 shows a view of a cannabis leaf.

While cannabis remains illegal under U.S. federal law as a "Schedule 1" drug with "no medicinal value" the number of states making possession and use of cannabis grew in the aftermath of the November 8 elections.

Voters in several states decided Tuesday to make cannabis legal for adults to have and use.

The strongest outcome in favor of legalization took place in the mid-Atlantic state of Maryland, where cannabis, with 92% of the votes counted, was approved by a 65.52% to 34.47% margin. The only Maryland section that overwhelmingly said "No" was Garrett County, the state's westernmost political subdivision.

The Midwest State of Missouri also went "yes" on cannabis. With 88% of the votes in, the margin of approval stood at 53.99% compared to a 46.01 "No" vote.

The state immediate south of Missouri, Arkansas, however, went the other way, with its voters disapproving legalization by a 55.81% to 44.19% margin, with 98% of the votes counted.

Also in the "No" column are the two Dakotas at the top of the U.S. plains states.

North Dakota voters disapproved of legalization by a 54.95% to 45.05% margin with 75% of the votes counted.

South Dakota reported the "No" vote won by 52.85% compared to 47.15 who approved of legal cannabis. This reflects 96% of the votes counted.

Following the November 8 elections, 21 U.S. states have now approved the use of cannabis for recreational purposes, while 37 states have given approval for medicinal cannabis.

On the federal level, in October 2022 President Joe Biden issued a decree giving pardons to people with a federal conviction for simple marijuana possession.

Biden also directed the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services to review federal laws on cannabis to decide whether the drug should remain on "Schedule 1."