By LeeWEpstein

October 22, 2020

They were still 7 in July to be able to place a vote on cannabis for the November election. They will finally be only 5. Arizona, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota will vote in the November election to legalize all or part of cannabis.

Arizona, Montana, and New Jersey will vote to legalize cannabis

Voters in three states will vote on measures to legalize adult cannabis. 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, use, or give up to one ounce of cannabis. Home cultivation of up to 6 plants per adult or 12 plants per household with more than one adult would be allowed. Proposal 207 would also create a regulatory system for the commercial production and sale of cannabis products, in addition to social equity provisions to ensure a cannabis industry that is representative of the community. The initiative also allows for the revocation of previous convictions for cannabis offenses. The measure would generate approximately $300 million in taxes per year, which would be used to help fund community colleges, public health, transportation, and public safety.

In New Jersey, legislators tried for 2 years to pass legalization but were unsuccessful due to a lack of support. State voters did, however, succeed in passing a popular initiative that, if passed, would amend the state constitution to legalize adult cannabis use by those 21 years of age and older. The measure authorizes the state’s current medical cannabis supervisor, the Cannabis Regulatory Commission, to regulate the new adult-use market. Detailed regulations would be created by the agency and the state legislature following the passage of the bill.

Montana voters will see two cannabis-related measures on their ballots for the November elections. The first, Initiative 190, would legalize the possession and sale of small amounts of cannabis for adult use, establish a regulatory system to license cannabis businesses and impose a 20 percent tax on recreational purchases. New Approach Montana, the group behind the two voting measures, estimates that taxes on retail sales of cannabis in the state would generate $236 million in public coffers by 2026. The second measure, Constitutional Initiative 118, would amend the state’s constitution to allow legislators to set the legal age for purchasing cannabis at 21. Currently, the constitution guarantees all adult rights, except for the purchase of alcohol, to all persons 18 years of age and older.

Medical Cannabis in Mississippi

Mississippi voters will have the opportunity to legalize the medical use of cannabis with Initiative 65, which has qualified for the ballot via a citizen petition supported by Medical Marijuana 2020. If passed, the measure would allow doctors to prescribe cannabis 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 cannabis products used for medical purposes and creates a regulatory system to administer the program.

65A, which has been voted on by the legislature in addition to the citizens’ initiative, is confusing. This more restrictive measure would allow only non-smokable forms of cannabis for all patients, except those with a terminal illness. Initiative 65A also requires that all medical cannabis products be of pharmaceutical grade and would allow state legislators to create the rules and regulations governing the program.

South Dakota will vote for both Recreational & Medical

Two cannabis measures will be on the ballot in South Dakota, where voters will decide to legalize recreational and medical cannabis separately. Measure 26 directs the South Dakota Department of Health to establish a registration system for patients with eligible health problems, 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 tax framework for the production of commercial medical cannabis.

Amendment A, which would legalize the use of cannabis by adults 21 years and older, will also be put to the vote. The measure allows the possession of up to 1 ounce of cannabis and the cultivation of up to 3 cannabis plants. The State Department of Revenue would be responsible for licensing commercial cannabis companies and establishing regulations to govern their activities. Sales of non-medical cannabis would be taxed at 15%, with half of the proceeds going to South Dakota’s public schools and the rest to the state’s general fund. Both measures received support from the South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws.


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