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The 2020 Election and Its Impact on Cannabis

Updated: Jan 26, 2021

Finally, after what seems like forever, we have made it to November 4th, 2020, which means that we have started to gain a grasp on how the 2020 Election will impact the cannabis industry. This year’s election saw five states with cannabis related ballot initiatives. With each of these states comes a new cannabis market and the creation of more jobs in the industry. So let’s break down exactly what happened in this year’s election for the industry.


Which states had cannabis ballot initiatives and how did they do?

In 2020 many states initially tried to gain momentum for November referendums on cannabis, but mostly due to COVID-19 preventing groups from canvassing for signatures, only five states actually had ballot initiatives that would provide some sort of legal access to cannabis in their state. The states with ballot initiatives were New Jersey, Arizona, South Dakota, Mississippi, and Montana.


All five states voted to approve legal cannabis in their states. New Jersey and Arizona voted to bring recreational cannabis. New Jersey’s initiative, known as “Public Question No.1”, asked Garden State residents if they “approve[d] of amending the Constitution to legalize a controlled substance form of marijuana called ‘cannabis’?” The New Jersey legislature will now have to draw up a constitutional amendment to legalize recreational cannabis. Arizona voters approved Proposition 207, which legalizes possession of cannabis up to one ounce by adults 21 and older. The retail distribution of cannabis will first begin with locations already dispensing medical cannabis.


Montana approved I-190 to legalize recreational cannabis in their state. It looks like the measure will end up passing by around 100,000 votes. South Dakota made headlines this election by becoming the first state to legalize both medicinal and recreational cannabis at the same time. Both SD Amendment A: Legalize Marijuana and SD Measure 26: Medical Marijuana passed and will bring legal cannabis to the state. South Dakotans over the age of 21 will be able to possess up to an ounce of cannabis and cultivate up to 3 plants. These results bring the national count of states with legalized recreational cannabis up to 15 plus Washington D.C.


Mississippi has passed Initiative 65, which legalizes medical cannabis in the state. Mississippi becomes the 35th U.S. state to establish a medical marijuana program. It is also the first state in the traditionally conservative South to legalize cannabis in any capacity. This could potentially lead to more Southern ballot initiatives in future elections. We'll keep our eyes on 2022.


What do these new cannabis programs mean for cannabis industry employees?

The obvious conclusion is that the addition of new programs means that there will be even more employees joining the already growing cannabis industry. States like Mississippi and South Dakota that are establishing their first cannabis programs will have to build out the infrastructure that states like Arizona already have due to their medical cannabis program.


Update: Jan. 11th, 2020


As always, ACS Safe is working to provide best in class employee personal protection solutions that meet the demanding needs of the cannabis industry. We are excited about the addition of new cannabis markets and hopeful that these states will establish employee personal safety standards that have their employees in mind. To learn more about ACS Safe and our industry standard personal safety solutions, feel free to look on our website or setup a free 1-hour comprehensive demo.


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