The legalization marijuana both medically and recreationally has been sweeping across the country, the moment began in early 2010’s and expanded throughout the decade with eight states having marijuana recreationally legalized and many more medically. The trend will continue in 2020 with four states voting on recreational marijuana and two states voting on medical marijuana it could be a green wave in 2020.
New Jersey residents will be voting on allowing adult use recreational marijuana in November. New Jersey, which would be the first state in the NY, NJ, and CT area to legalize marijuana and could potentially force the hand of the other states as well, to not let tax revenue flow to their neighbor. The most recent polling in the Garden State showed over 60% support for the legalization of recreational marijuana, it appears the best bet for November legalization lies in New Jersey.
Arizona resident will be voting for the second time in four years on whether they will legalize marijuana. The first ballot measure was defeated by only 70,000 votes in 2016, however support appears to be there for them to pass it this time. If Arizona voters in November decided in favor of legalization that would make it the sixth state west of Texas to legalize recreational cannabis and could force its neighbor to New Mexico to become the seventh in the near future, and has already passed a legalization bill in the New Mexico State House of Representatives but failed to garner enough support in the senate. The governor of New Mexico, Michelle Lujan Grisham, is huge proponent of legalization and after the 2020 primary in New Mexico saw various anti-legalization democratic lawmakers in the senate loss to progressive challengers it seems like every state in the South West will be able to spark up without fear of prosecution.
Montana will also be voting on legalizing recreational marijuana and it appears the results will be very close. Montana legalized medicinal marijuana by a 15% margin in 2012, and the state eight years later seems to be on the path to legalization of recreational marijuana in November. Montana residents will be voting on two ballot measures: CI-118 & I-190. CI-118 would set the minimum age to purchase recreational cannabis at 21, and I-190 would allow for the regulation and sale of recreational cannabis. Recent polling from the University of Montana showed 54% of respondents supported legalizing recreational marijuana. Montana would join Oregon and Washington as states in the Northwest that have legalized marijuana recreationally.
South Dakota will be voting on both recreational and medical marijuana in November, which if the measures pass it would become the first state to fully legalize both forms of cannabis on the same measure. South Dakota being a very red and rural state might have a hard time legalizing recreationally, however polls have shown that it appears to be about an even split in support for recreational legalization with a much more wide support for medical marijuana. Voters will be tasked with the two measures on November 3rd, the first being Amendment A, which would amend the South Dakota Constitution to allow for the legalization and taxation of recreational marijuana and I-26 which would establish a medical marijuana program in the state.
Mississippi another ruby red state that has a very high chance of legalizing medical marijuana in November. Mississippian’s will have three options on the ballot, the first being I-65, which is seen as the more ‘liberal’ option would legalize medical marijuana and establish a system where dispensaries could be open by individuals, and offers more options for conditions that could be treated. However, the second option was drawn up hastily by the Mississippi legislature and will also be on the ballot, I-65 A, which is a more restrictive option on the ballot that is very vague and only allows for terminally ill patients to be able to buy smokeable marijuana. Lastly, there will be an option to not vote for either. Polls in the state have shown widespread support for legalization and it appears I-65 is the favorite.
Nebraska is the last state that has medical marijuana on the ballot in November, however current lawsuits could change that and the situation is very fluid. The Nebraska medical marijuana program would join their border states in Missouri and Colorado that have legalized medical marijuana. The polling in the state seems to indicate wide support for medical marijuana with 77% in favor of medical legalization in the most recent poll, however we will have to see the status of recent court filings before medical marijuana policy supporters can do a victory lap.