Cannabis Legalization Measures On The Ballot In 5 States

This election cycle, voters in five states will see ballot measures concerning marijuana.
Cannabis Legalization Measures On The Ballot In 5 States

The 33 states with some form of legal cannabis could gain additional company this election season as voters in five states consider ballot measures to legalize marijuana. Three states will see initiatives to legalize recreational marijuana, another will decide on the medicinal use of cannabis, while the fifth will consider separate measures for both.

Arizona, Montana, New Jersey To Decide On Adult-Use Pot

Voters in three states will vote on measures to legalize recreational marijuana. In Arizona, Proposition 207, the Smart and Safe Act, will be on the ballot. If passed, the initiative would allow adults 21 and older to possess, consume, or transfer up to one ounce of cannabis. Home cultivation of up to six plants per adult or 12 plants per household with more than one adult would be permitted. Prop. 207 would also create a regulatory system for the commercial production and sale of cannabis products, including social equity provisions to help ensure a cannabis industry that is representative of the community. The initiative also allows for the expungement of past convictions for marijuana offenses. The measure would generate an estimated $300 million in taxes yearly, which would be used to help fund community colleges, public health, transportation, and public safety.

In New Jersey, a two-year attempt by lawmakers to legalize the recreational use of cannabis by adults failed to gain enough support to pass in the legislature. Instead, voters will see Question 1, which if passed would amend the state’s constitution to legalize the recreational use of marijuana by those 21 and older. The measure authorizes the state’s existing medical marijuana overseer, the Cannabis Regulatory Commission, to regulate the new adult-use market. Detailed regulations would be created by the agency and the state legislature after passage of the ballot measure. 

Montana voters will see two cannabis measures on their ballot for the November election. The first, Initiative 190, would legalize the possession and sale of small amounts of marijuana for adult use, establish a regulatory system to license cannabis businesses, and levy a 20% tax on recreational purchases. New Approach Montana, the group behind both ballot measures, estimates that taxes on retail sales of cannabis in the state would generate $236 million in new revenue for the public coffers by 2026. The second measure, Constitutional Initiative 118, would amend the state’s constitution so that the legislature could set the legal age to purchase cannabis at 21. Currently, the constitution guarantees all rights of an adult, except for the purchase of alcohol, to all persons 18 years and up.

Medical Marijuana On Mississippi’s Ballot

Voters in Mississippi will have the chance to legalize the medicinal use of cannabis with Initiative 65, which qualified for the ballot via a citizen’s petition supported by Medical Marijuana 2020. If passed, the measure would allow physicians to recommend cannabis as a treatment for patients with one or more of 22 qualifying medical conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, and post-traumatic stress disorder. The initiative also establishes a 7% tax on medical marijuana products and creates a regulatory system for administering the program. 

Confusing the issue is Initiative 65A, which was placed on the ballot by the legislature as an alternative to the citizen’s initiative. The more restrictive measure would only allow non-smokable forms of cannabis for all patients except those with a terminal illness. Initiative 65A also requires all medical marijuana products to be of pharmaceutical quality and would allow state lawmakers to create the rules and regulations governing the program.

South Dakota Considers Both Recreational And Medical

Two cannabis measures will also be on the ballot in South Dakota, where voters will decide on legalizing recreational cannabis and medical marijuana separately. Initiated Measure 26 directs the South Dakota Department of Health to establish a registration system for patients with qualifying health conditions, including those that cause severe pain, seizures, muscle spasms, or nausea. The measure allows registered patients to possess up to three ounces of cannabis and establishes a regulatory and taxation framework for the production of commercial medical cannabis. 

Also on the ballot is Amendment A, which would legalize the use of cannabis by adults 21 and up. Possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and cultivation of up to three cannabis plants would also be permitted by the measure. The state Department of Revenue would be responsible for licensing commercial marijuana businesses and establishing regulations to govern their operation. Sales of non-medical cannabis would be taxed at a rate of 15%, with half of the proceeds going to South Dakota public schools and the remainder to the state’s general fund. Both ballot measures are supported by South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws.

Get Out And Vote!

Election day on November 3 is quickly approaching, and early voting has already begun in some states. To help inform voters about the cannabis legalization measures up for consideration this November, wholesale cannabis marketplace LeafLink has created an information guide that outlines the initiatives in each state. Ryan G. Smith, the CEO and co-founder of LeaLink, told High Times that this year’s election “is shaping up to be one of the most important of our lifetime, and that includes the ways in which it will influence the future of the cannabis industry.” 

“There are some key cannabis regulations on state ballots this year, such as adult-use legalization in Arizona and New Jersey, and we wanted to let people know just how crucial it is that they go out and vote!” Smith wrote in an email. “We published “Cannabis on the 2020 Ballot” as a way to educate the industry and supporters of the cannabis community so they feel confident as they cast their votes this year.”

Voter registration is still open in some states, but you’ll have to hurry. To register to vote or check your registration, visit the Cannabis Voter Project online.

Don’t forget to vote on November 3!

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