By ANDREW DeMILLO Associated Press
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Voters approved recreational marijuana in Maryland and Missouri but rejected it in two other states, signaling support gradually growing for legalization even in conservative parts of the country.
The results mean that 21 states have now approved marijuana's recreational use. Arkansas and North Dakota voters rejected legalization proposals in Tuesday's elections. A similar initiative went before voters in South Dakota, but early Wednesday it was too early to call.
Advocates said the results send a message to lawmakers in Washington about support around the country for legalization.
About 6 in 10 voters support legalizing the recreational use of marijuana nationwide, according to VoteCast, an extensive survey of more than 90,000 voters nationwide conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago.
David Owen, who led North Dakota's legalization effort, said he wasn't sure another effort would be made after the proposal was rejected.
"Not what we wanted, but the people have spoken and we have to prepare for the next steps," Owen said.
North Dakota's proposal would have allowed people 21 and older to legally use marijuana at home as well as possess and cultivate restricted amounts of cannabis. It also would have established policies to regulate retail stores, cultivators and other types of marijuana businesses.