Cannabis on the 2020 Ballot

Community • September 22, 2020

Everything you need to know about cannabis legislation and the upcoming 2020 election.

cannabis 2020 election

Election Day 2020 is less than eight weeks away, and cannabis legalization and reform is on the ballot in 5 states. Which states should you be watching and how can you make your voice heard? We’re here to tell you how to vote and what the legislation will look like from state to state.

While the election takes place on November 3rd, 2020, many states are allowing either mail-in ballots or early voting this year, so don’t wait to register. Voter registration deadlines, absentee ballots, and voting methods vary by state --make sure to check your local voting guidelines before Election Day by visiting resources like Vote.org, Headcount, VoteSaveAmerica, and DemocracyWorks.

Scroll to see voter registration deadlines for your state.

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Where Cannabis is on the Ballot


Arizona

Cannabis legalization is halfway there in Arizona, with medical cannabis being available in the state since 2010. Arizona is packed with cannabis brands and retailers and we have seen great growth since they joined LeafLink in 2018.

This year, Arizonans will vote on the Smart and Safe Arizona Act (Prop 207), which legalizes adult-use (21+) cannabis in the state. The act would also apply a 16% excise tax - the same as alcohol and cigarettes - to fund government agencies and initiatives, including funding for community colleges and education. Arizona, don't forget to vote “Yes” on Prop 207 this fall!

If it passes, Arizona will have until April 5, 2021 to map out and establish guidelines for legal recreational use.

  • General Election Registration Deadline: Oct 5
  • Early Voting: Oct 7 - Oct 30
  • Deadline to Request an Absentee Ballot: Oct 23
  • General Election: Nov 3


Mississippi

Mississippi is voting on two measures this fall. Mississippi’s Initiative 65 and 65A both legalize medical cannabis in Mississippi. However, I-65 would make medical cannabis available for anyone who qualifies, including those suffering from PTSD and cancer. Initiative 65A, on the other hand, would enact a stricter medical cannabis market that, according to opponents, would not guarantee a medical cannabis market even if initiative passes. Mississippi, don't forget to vote “Yes” on Initiative 65!

Vote ‘either measure’ on the ballot to signify ‘yes’ to passing 65 or 65A. Vote must proceed to a second question to choose between 65 or 65A.

  • General Election Registration Deadline: Oct 5
  • Early Voting: Oct 24 - Oct 31
  • General Election Absentee Request Deadline: Oct 26
  • General Election: Nov 3


New Jersey

New Jersey passed medical cannabis in late 2019 and this year they hope to pass recreational. The New Jersey Marijuana Amendment (Public Question #1 on the ballot) would legalize cannabis for adult-use as well as the ability to cultivate, process, and sell.

The Amendment also would mandate the creation of an online portal for those with cannabis convictions to apply for expungement and for pending possession charges to be dismissed or downgraded. In addition, 25% of dispensary licensing would be allocated to 'high impact zones', or the areas most impacted by cannabis arrests, unemployment, and crime. New Jersey, don't forget to vote “Yes” on Public Question #1

  • General Election Registration Deadline: Oct 13
  • Early Voting: Sept 19 - Nov 2
  • Deadline to Request an Absentee Ballot Oct 27
  • General Election: Nov 3


South Dakota

South Dakota's Constitutional Amendment A and Measure 26 allow for the respective legalization of adult-use and medical cannabis. This would be the first state in history to legalize both medical and adult-use at the same time. Go South Dakota and cannabis legalization!

If Amendment A and Measure 26 pass, all tax revenue generated from cannabis sales must be split between public education and the state general fund. The legalization would also overturn South Dakota's harsh cannabis laws, which are currently a $2000 fine and/or 1 year in jail for possession and use. South Dakota, don't forget to vote “Yes” on Constitutional Amendment A and Initiated Measure 26 this November!

  • Early Voting: Sept 18- Nov 2
  • General Election Registration Deadline: Oct 19
  • Deadline to Request an Absentee Ballot: Nov 2
  • General Election: Nov 3


Montana

In 2016, voters approved Montana Medical Marijuana Initiative I-182, making medical cannabis available across the state. This year, Montana’s Initiative 190 (I-190) would legalize adult-use cannabis and set up a framework for cultivation and sale.

Along with legalization, I-190 would allow individuals currently incarcerated on cannabis-related charges to apply for resentencing or expungement. Those with time served may also apply for expungement or have convictions re-designated as a misdemeanor. Montana, don’t forget to vote “Yes” on I-190 this November!

  • General Election Registration Deadline: Oct 5
  • Early Voting: Oct 5 - Nov 2
  • Deadline to Request an Absentee Ballot: Nov 2
  • General Election: Nov 3


Bonus: Oregon

Oregon has been a part of LeafLink since 2018 and has had numerous winners on our annual LeafLink List awards. The state has a long standing medical program from the late 90s and passed recreational cannabis in 2015. This year Oregon is voting on decriminalization and cannabis tax.

Oregon’s Initiative 44 (I-44) would decriminalize all drugs listed under the federal Controlled Substances Act, including cannabis. Possession of drugs would be classified as a violation, similar to a speeding ticket, resulting in a $100 fine and/or a health assessment at an addiction recovery center.

I-44 also provides wide-ranging measures to help treat addiction, including housing and 24/7 rehabilitation centers, which would be funded by a $100M tax on cannabis sales. Oregon, don't forget to vote “Yes” on Measure 110 in November!

  • General Election Registration Deadline: Oct 13
  • Deadline to Request an Absentee Ballot: Oct 13
  • Early Voting deadline: October 28
  • General Election: Nov 3


Register, Educate, and Vote

While cannabis remains federally illegal, state-specific legislation has and will continue to be a big win for cannabis entrepreneurs and businesses, as well as the industry overall. Stay tuned on our social media for more updates on how to register, when to vote, and other resources to help you understand what cannabis will look like on the ballot this year.

Remember, don't wait until November 3rd to figure out your voting plan!

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