While the race for the Senate may extend this election into the holiday, we can all agree on one definitive outcome from Election 2020: Weed won! Five states had some form of legalized cannabis on their ballots this November, and all five states ran the table, inching our country closer to national legalization.
Just ten years ago, adult-use (aka “recreational”) cannabis was completely illegal across the United States.
With these wins, 15 states have now either enacted or have voted to enact adult-use legalization laws, and 36 states have either enacted or have voted to enact medical marijuana access laws.
1. New Jersey
New Jersey has had medical cannabis since 2010, and 10 years later they’ve added adult-use cannabis to the state’s legal program. This change will go into effect on January 1, 2021. New Yorkers and Pennsylvanians, get those bus tickets sorted. You must be 21 or older to purchase.
2. South Dakota
Like New Jersey, most states who’ve approved adult-use cannabis started with a medical program. South Dakota is the first state in the nation to legalize medical and recreational cannabis at the same time! Kudos to The Mount Rushmore State!
The plant will remain technically illegal until July 1, 2021, when residents over the age of 21 will be able to purchase, consume, and grow up to three cannabis plants for personal use. The medical cannabis program will also begin July 1, 2021, and the state government has until April 1, 2022 to develop laws and regulations for purchase and sale of adult-use cannabis.
With the passage of two ballot initiatives (I-90 and CI-118) on Tuesday, Montana became yet another state to legalize adult-use cannabis for adult users over the age of 21.
I-90 is centered on creating rules and regulations around cannabis use. It also places a 20% tax on recreational cannabis sales for vendors. Finally, it allows counties to individually vote on whether or not they want to prohibit dispensaries in their district. CI-118 sets the age limit for purchase and sale of recreational cannabis.
Arizona has finally caught up to its neighbors out West and legalized recreational cannabis for residents over the age of 21. Prop 207, which passed on Tuesday, will allow for the purchase, sale, growth and use of cannabis products. It also covers expungement for those who have been locked up for minor cannabis crimes.
Perhaps the most unexpected state to legalize cannabis is Mississippi, although the new law only allows for medical cannabis. Legislators have until July 1, 2021 to finalize the medical cannabis laws, but it will be an incredibly strict program–you have to be suffering from one or more “debilitating medical conditions.” These include cancer, epilepsy, and sickle-cell-anemia–amongst 19 others.
Baby steps, Mississippi.
These five states join California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Vermont, and Washington D.C. in legalizing both recreational and medical forms of cannabis.
Lastly, we’d like to extend a hearty shout out to Oregon!! You know what you did.