According to Steve Hawkins, executive director of the cannabis legalization group, the Cannabis Policy Project, the dynamics in states, including the deep red regions of the country, should be a call to action. for the federal government. Cannabis is still illegal under federal law.
“Whoever controls the White House, the House of Representatives and the Senate, we should demand a landmark federal cannabis reform in 2021,” Hawkins said.
The New Jersey measure, however, did not immediately legalize marijuana. The state Legislature still needs to pass legislation to make it legal.
Background: Voters in five states are tasked with whether to pass medical marijuana legalization or for adult use in this election. South Dakota made history as the first state voters decided to legalize both medical and recreational marijuana in the same election. And the fear that Montanans will legalize cannabis but not pass a constitutional amendment setting the legal consumption age to 21is unfounded – both measures have been passed.
2020 is projected to be an even bigger year for cannabis, but the pandemic has derailed Idaho medical marijuana legalization efforts and recreational marijuana legalization initiatives in Missouri, Arkansas, North Dakota, and Oklahoma were wiped out.
Supporters in Nebraska, meanwhile, gathered enough signatures to issue the ballot – but the state Supreme Court ordered the Secretary of State to remove the question. And a highly anticipated attempt to legalize adult cannabis for use in Florida failed before the pandemic struck.
Legalization groups appreciated adversaries in every state. In New Jersey, proponents of cannabis legalization have outlined 99-1 opponents. In Arizona, they outpaced their opponents 10-1. Travel expert Rick Steves got involved, giving away $ 50,000 this year for further legalization campaigns.
Impact: More than 1 in 3 Americans will live in states where marijuana is legal for adult use.
New Jersey and Arizona, with 8.9 million and 7.3 million residents, were the biggest backers’ wins this year. Legalization in New Jersey is expected to create a domino effect for legalization in other large East Coast states, including Pennsylvania and New York.
South Dakota, Montana and Mississippi, though much smaller, are significant in another way: As red states, the adoption of cannabis measures illustrates the change in Republican sentiment. for cannabis.
The impact of these voting measures will be felt in Congress, especially if Democrats regain control of the Senate. If all measures are finally passed, a third of the House members will represent states where cannabis is legal, and a quarter of the Senate will too. If Democrats end control of both houses next year, expect that state’s legitimate lawmakers to be called upon to vote on significant changes to federal cannabis policy – includes the removal of all federal penalties for its use.
Feedback: Legalization advocates on Tuesday pointed out that the campaigns in favor of legalization are highly funded as a sign that cannabis is becoming a major business like the tobacco or alcohol industries. .
Kevin Sabet, founder of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, said: “It seems that with multistate operators pouring millions of dollars into Arizona once again, they have succeeded in securing cannabis monopoly of state. Sabet also promised its organization would work to make sure certain local jurisdictions in Arizona or New Jersey decide to allow cannabis production or distribution.
Cannabis advocates, meanwhile, praise the advent of both forms of entertainment Measures such as victory for criminal justice reform. In New Jersey, the US Civil Liberties Union and the National Cannabis Law Reform National Organization called on the Legislature to prioritize criminal justice reform and social justice in written regulation.
ACLU New Jersey CEO Amol Sinha said: “The ‘yes’ vote is just the first step towards justice. is hardest hit by unfair drug law enforcement, especially in black and brown communities. “