Cannabis Was the Clear-Cut Winner of Election Night

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Cannabis was the clear winner of the 2020 election—with nearly every cannabis bill being approved by voters across multiple states. On election night on November 3, voters in four states—Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota—legalized recreational cannabis for adults. In addition, Mississippi and South Dakota voters approved medical cannabis bills, opening the door to new industries in those states. Oregon also passed two related bills that will remove penalties for other types of substances.

“During the most divisive election in modern U.S. history, Americans demonstrated unity around at least one issue—cannabis policy reform,” stated Aaron Smith, co-founder and chief executive officer of the National Cannabis Industry Association. “These state-level victories will mean tens of thousands of fewer arrests and new jobs, much-needed tax revenue, and increased public safety.”

Arizona voters approved Proposition 207, aka the “Smart and Safe Arizona Act,” which will allow adults 21 years of age and older to consume cannabis. It imposes a 16 percent excise tax on retail cannabis sales and provides a program to help expunge cannabis-related convictions.

Mississippi voters approved Initiative 65, which will allow people with qualifying conditions to possess and consume cannabis under a licensed physician. Mississippi Initiative Measure #65A did not pass.

Montana voters approved Initiative 190, which directs the state’s Department of Revenue to regulate cultivation, transportation and sale of cannabis. It will also impose a 10.5 percent tax on cannabis sales. Montana voters also approved Constitutional Amendment 118, which will amend the state’s constitution to establish a legal age for purchasing, consuming and possessing alcohol and cannabis.

New Jersey voters approved Public Question 1, which will allow for possession, consumption and cultivation of recreational cannabis for adults 21 years of age and older.

South Dakota voters approved Initiated Measure 26, which  will establish a medical cannabis program in the state of South Dakota, specifically for patients who suffer from debilitating medical conditions. They also approved Constitutional Amendment A, which will legalize recreational cannabis, with a dated requirement to have the South Dakota State Legislature pass necessary laws for medical cannabis and hemp sales by April 1, 2022.

Non-Cannabis Mentions

Cannabis wasn’t the only winner—as seen in two huge victories for Oregon. Oregon voters approved Measure 109, which will allow licensed medical practitioners to prescribe psilocybin mushrooms to adults who are over 21 years old or older. Oregon voters also approved Oregon Measure 110, which will expand drug treatment rather than arresting people for possession of small amounts of drugs..

“We look forward to building on this progress as we continue to work with Congress to end the conflict between outdated federal laws and the growing number of states with regulated cannabis markets, and help undo the racially and economically disparate harms caused by prohibition,” Smith added. “There is still a lot of work to do, but the wind is at our backs.”

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