Cannabis to Reach Election Ballots in Certain States

With the impending popularity of cannabis, it is no surprise that on this year’s election ballots, more states will vote for the legalization in their respective territories. Beyond recreational use, there are medicinal benefits to its uses that deserve to be explored. There are also substantial state-to-state opportunities, varying streams of revenue, and the creation of jobs that could come out of its legalization. Not many people are willing to delve deeper in this fast-paced industry or learn more about the drug, however.


Currently, the recreational use of cannabis is legal in only 11 states, including Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.  The Food and Drug Administration has permitted certain cannabinoid derivatives for prescription use, such as the THC-containing Marinol and Syndros, and Cesamet and Epidiolex. Because of this, medicinal use of cannabis is legalized in 33 states, if accompanied with a doctor’s recommendation. Because of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, cannabis is classified as a substance with a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use. Thus, federally, the use and possession of cannabis is illegal.


What States Can be Found on this Year’s Ballots?


But there is some hope for users across the nation, as Mississippi, New Jersey, and South Dakota will all appear on November’s election ballots.


In April, Monmouth University conducted a survey, which concluded that more than 60% of New Jersey residents would vote in favor of a statewide legalization of adult-use cannabis. If approved, the state would approach annual sales of $1 billion by the midpoint of this decade.


South Dakota and Mississippi’s participation is especially surprising as they are extremely conservative states, and cannabis in South Dakota is currently completely banned. It will serve as the first state to allow residents to vote on both medicinal and recreational uses of marijuana on the same ballot.


The Stakes are “High” for Other States, Pun Intended


Arizona is another state that has a pretty good shot at approving the recreational use of cannabis. In fact, its residents submitted signatures for the Smart and Safe Arizona Act to legalize it. The Act would also apply 16% tax on all marijuana sales, while proceeds would go towards funding police and fire departments, community colleges, and state highway revenue efforts. Much like New Jersey, if approved, Arizona is projected to reach up to $1 billion in annual sales by mid-decade.


As of March 2019, 51% of Montana residents surveyed in favor of the legal consumption of marijuana, though it has historically been conservative on the matter. Like Arizona, the Treasure State has also submitted signatures.


Nebraska, which has been consistently anti-cannabis for years, is now leaning towards getting a medical marijuana constitutional amendment on the ballot in November. A whopping 76% of Cornhuskers were in favor of legalizing medical cannabis, according to a poll from McLaughlin and Associates.


On the other hand, Oklahoma, though pending official review, may be on its way to enjoying legal marijuana. However, an August 2019 poll from News 9 suggested that more than half of residents would oppose cannabis legalization.


It’s clear that while each state has its fair share of support and opposition, only time will tell, come November, the future of cannabis in the country.

Did You Know?

  • California is at the forefront of cannabis sales with roughly $3.1 billion in revenue in 2019
  • By 2024, Nevada is expected to have the highest per-capita spending on marijuana
  • The United States spent more than $7.3 billion in cannabis sales in 2019


  Olivia Shaw-Reel

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