Election Day 2020 could be a windfall for cannabis. Voters in four states — Arizona, Mississippi, Montana, and New Jersey — will decide on legalization for either medical or adult use. And voters in South Dakota will be the first ever to see both medical and adult use measures on their ballots.
Presidential elections are often targeted by legalization advocates because of the higher-than-average voter turnout. In 2016, voters passed cannabis measures in eight of nine states where cannabis was on the ballot.
In fact, if not for the COVID-19 pandemic, which presented restrictions on in-person events and signature gathering, voters in several other states could have decided on medical or adult use legalization. For example, advocates in Arkansas and Oklahoma failed to gather enough signatures, Cannabis Wire reported in a comprehensive analysis on how COVID-19 disrupted cannabis efforts this year. In addition, advocates in Florida, Idaho, Missouri, North Dakota, and Ohio suspended their cannabis campaigns amid the pandemic.
Another twist: anti-legalization advocates called on state supreme courts to pull cannabis measures from ballots. This unprecedented tactic was deployed in three states this year, Nebraska, Montana, and Mississippi. In Nebraska, it worked, and a medical cannabis measure that qualified for the ballot was subsequently pulled. In Mississippi, the top court won’t decide until after the vote. And in Montana, the court rejected the challenge.
Here’s more on the cannabis measures voters in five states will see on their ballots:
Arizona is a bit of a wildcard. In 2016, voters in Arizona were alone in rejecting adult use legalization, which passed in four other states: California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada.
Proposition 207, the 2020 measure that voters will see, would tax and regulate cannabis sales for adults twenty-one and older, allow for individuals to grow up to six plants at home,