Cannabis went Conservative in 2020

Every election year continues to show that a deeply divided America is growing more divided. Yet, one thing that we can all agree on is that the ideology of the war on drugs is unpopular. Every state that ran a cannabis initiative won. 5 states had cannabis referendums while South Dakota went wild and ran both a legal and medical initiative. They won. Arizona, Montana, and new jersey all won legalization, while Mississippi joined a growing list of Southern states to vote for medical access to cannabis. Oregon took the war on drugs a step further when their voters legalized all drugs this November.[1] Jail time is now reduced to either a fine or a class.

Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota all join the fraternity of Legal States as the count is now at 15. Notably, South Dakota has been working hard to get legal cannabis access to their state for a long time. They got medical initiatives on the ballot in 2006 and 2010 that both lost. The Flandreau Santee Sioux tribe legalized cannabis in 2015, but the federal government made them burn their plants. They have recently been greenlighted to grow hemp, however.[2] Conservative South Dakota has been a busy place. This time around, they legalized both medical and recreational access. Congratulations for finally crossing the threshold.

New Jersey should also be noted, because so much of it borders New York City, Philadelphia, and Delaware. New York legalized medical cannabis in 2014, but their medical marijuana program is riddled with bureaucratic problems. Limited locations, long lines, vastly overpriced products, and a lack of available flower all make the New York medical cannabis market undesirable. The much simpler legal market popping up across the river in New Jersey will not only create a boom for those Jersey communities, but it will inspire New York, if not much of the Northeast, to finally do what their citizens want and use their legislatures to legalize recreational cannabis in 2021.[3]

Medical cannabis also won in both states that qualified ballots: South Dakota and Mississippi. Bringing the total medical state count to 40. Another southern state is involved in medical cannabis, and it won by a 2/3 majority. They are the sixth state to legalize medical cannabis in the south.

The cannabis referendums this year all took place in states that voted Republican in the 2016 election. Three of the four voted for the Republican president in 2020.  It is clear that the state of cannabis is strong in the United States. Six initiatives put up and six initiatives won. Blue state, red state, north, south, east and west. Every quadrant said yes. If there is anything, anything at all that a Democratic President and a Republican Senate can agree on, it is access to legal cannabis markets.


[1] https://apnews.com/article/oregon-first-decriminalizing-hard-drugs-01edca37c776c9ea8bfd4afdd7a7a33e

[2] https://www.lakotatimes.com/articles/flandreau-santee-sioux-tribe-is-green-on-hemp/

[3] https://mjbizdaily.com/new-jersey-adult-use-cannabis-legalization-could-impact-east-coast/

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