The biggest bets are in New Jersey and Arizona, where polling suggests voters will return recreational sales.
If both measures pass, more than 16 million additional Americans will be living in states where a person at least 21 years old can buy weed for any reason. This means that more than 100 million Americans will have access to legal recreational marijuana sales, less than a decade after Colorado and Washington led the modern legalization movement.
South Dakota and Montana may also pass recreational legalization measures this year. Voters could become the first state to go by a total ban to legalize both medical and recreational sales upon returning a pair of referendums.
Meanwhile, Mississippi voters will decide whether to legalize medical marijuana. Mississippi will join a recent wave of archival states – including Mississippi, Arkansas and Utah – that have adopted medical sales in recent years.
“We are now working in very red states,” said Matthew Schweich, deputy director of the pro-legalization advocacy group Marijuana Policy Project. “If we win in Mississippi, Montana and South Dakota … it becomes more difficult for senators who oppose the law to allow their home states to enact laws that voters have approved . “
If all five states pass their ballots, more than two-thirds of federal jurists will represent states with legal medical or recreational marijuana markets. Even if only the New Jersey and Arizona measures pass, those votes would include four additional senators and 21 delegates – meaning that one-fourth of the Senate and one-third of the House are legal adult-use marijuana users. Will represent the states.
Lawmakers often change their views on cannibis when their state legally legalizes it, with Sen. Corey Gardner (R-Colo.) Being the most obvious example. And this year’s ballot measures will bring some heavy-weight lawmakers. Frank Palone, a New Jersey Democrat, is the House Energy and Commerce Chair and South Dakota Republican John Thun is the Senate majority whip.
“Every victory at the state level makes the federal-state conflict more volatile than ever,” Schweich said.
John Hudak of the Brookings Institution points out that marijuana legalization referendums have become routine, which are no longer considered foreign or external.
“It’s just mainstream public policy,” said Hudak, author of “Marijuana: A Short History”. “Just as states have votes on tax policy and a wide variety of issues, it is fast becoming just another public issue.”
Here’s a breakdown of the 2020 marijuana state ballot measures:
New Jersey: New Jersey lawmakers are already working on a bill to implement a recreational marijuana ballot question that is likely to be passed. The legislature referred to the question last year after attempting to pass a legalization bill.
If successful, the New Jersey market would boast the lowest marijuana tax rates in the nation. The state has about 9 million residents and is close to major cities including New York and Philadelphia. A legal market will undoubtedly attract consumers from neighboring states and may outpace others in the region to prioritize legalization over apprehensions of losing tax dollars during the state budget crisis.
Arizona: Four years ago, Arizona voters defeated a referendum to legalize entertainment sales. But they will have the opportunity to reverse the course in 2020. Most voting taxes indicate strong support for authorizing regulated sales. The state’s medical program enrolls more than 250,000 patients – a 150 percent increase from four years ago. Opponents of the initiative have been badly offended by the multi-dollar, industry-backed legalization campaign. And the initiative was reprimanded by the courts for challenging the legal. If Rick’s sales in Arizona became a reality, they would expand a contiguous network of five western states with more than 60 million residents spread from Canada to Mexico that have full legalization.
But the latest polling figures show a tightening race. According to OH Predictive Insights polling conducted over the past several days, support for legalization stands at 46 percent, compared to 45 percent opposition.
“Based on the latest numbers, people with marijuana should put the cork back in a champagne bottle,” said Mike Noble, managing partner of the polling firm.
Mississippi: The vote shows strong support for medical marijuana legalization in the state, but activists behind a medical marijuana initiative are facing challenges on two fronts – campaigns during an epidemic and an initiative put on the ballot by the state legislature.
More than 80 percent of Mississippi voters favor medical marijuana legalization, but in the election they will have two measures to choose from: an activist-run initiative that collected signatures to produce a ballot, and a lawgiver referenced that activists contest the election. Is to confuse and divide the vote. Still, a June poll by FM3 Research shows the Activist-led initiative has a 29-percentage-point lead over the alternative.
Montana: Montana, where medical marijuana is already legal, has two measures on the ballot: one to legalize recreational marijuana and the other one that is legally prescribed at age 21. Both measures are necessary, but there are some concerns that voters will be confused by having two separate initiatives.
Still, legal marijuana supports the majority of Montanans – 54 percent, according to a February survey by the University of Montana. Pro-legalization group New Approach Montana has raised more than $ 2.5 million since the end of June and plans to launch TV commercials in October. The anti-legal campaign for Montana Wrong, meanwhile, launched in the last few days.
South Dakota: The state is one of only three remaining states (along with Idaho and Nebraska) that outline all forms of cannabis – including the use of very specific medical conditions such as child seizures. South Dakota will be the first state to put medical and recreational measures on the ballot in a single election. Measure 26 sets a medical marijuana program, and Amendment A would legalize adult-use marijuana. While this is unusual, Schweich said he took both measures at the same time because his turnout shows support among South Bandits for both medical and recreational cannabis.
The Republican-led state government strongly opposes all things cannabis. Republican Government. Christie Noam even vetoed a hemp legalization law passed by the Republican-led legislature Last year, but eventually this year dropped her opposition. The adult-use initiative is constitutional – meaning the legislature cannot repeal it if it passes in November. Meanwhile, the medical initiative is statutory. The legislature would have the power to repeal or amend that law, but given that statewide support for medical marijuana, it seems unlikely that voters would intervene if they approved it.
Kovid-19 Setback: Due to the coronovirus crisis, 2020 is not quite the banner year for marijuana legalization, which advocates expected.
The epidemic derailed efforts to put medical marijuana legalization questions before voters in Idaho and North Dakota. Nebraska advocates gathered enough signatures to actually make the ballot, but the state’s highest court ordered the secretary of state to remove the question.
The public health crisis also kept recreational legalization efforts on the ballot in Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma, while a similar effort in Florida failed before the epidemic.