Five states passed ballot measures legalizing cannabis for adult or medical use on Election Day 

Statement below from Brian Vicente of Vicente Sederberg LLP, which has helped develop and implement adult-use and medical cannabis laws across the U.S.

CORRECTION *

The original version of the release below stated there are now 35 states with medical cannabis laws (plus four U.S. territories and D.C.). There are actually now 36 states with medical cannabis laws. We mistakenly excluded Virginia, which improved its existing law earlier this year and now meets our and other cannabis policy organizations’ definition of an effective state medical cannabis program. This correction is reflected in the following updated version of the release, as well as the map to which it links. We apologize for any confusion or inconvenience. 

Ballot measures to legalize cannabis for adult or medical use were approved in five states on Tuesday, marking another historic election for cannabis policy reform.

In Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota, voters passed measures to legalize and regulate cannabis for adults 21 and older, bringing the total number of states with adult-use cannabis laws to 15. Voters in South Dakota also approved a measure to establish a state-regulated medical cannabis program, as did voters in Mississippi, bringing the total number of states with medical cannabis laws to 35.

View/download an updated map showing the states where cannabis has been legalized for adult and/or medical use.

VSS_US_Marijuana_Policy_Post-2020-Election

Leading cannabis law and policy specialists from national cannabis law firm Vicente Sederberg LLP and its policy consulting affiliate, VS Strategies, are available to provide commentary and analysis regarding the next steps for these new state laws. Since its founding in 2010, VS and VSS team members have been at the forefront of developing and implementing cannabis laws and regulations across the U.S. and around the world, providing legal counsel and policy guidance to governments, trade associations, businesses, nonprofits, and others.

This past week, VS published a series of columns about cannabis-related election issues on its VS Insights blog, including pieces about the ballot measures in ArizonaMississippiMontanaNew Jersey, and South Dakota, as well as potential federal policy implications. Two of the firm’s partners, Charles Alovisetti and Cassia Furman, also recently co-authored a book on cannabis business and legal issues, “The Cannabis Business: Understanding Law, Finance, and Governance in America’s Newest Industry” (Routledge, 2020), which is scheduled for publication at the end of the year.

VS will host a post-election webinar November 19 that will focus on implementation and licensing issues in states that adopted new medical and adult-use cannabis laws; business opportunities in those states and the general corporate outlook for the industry in 2021; and prospects for federal legalization in the aftermath of the presidential and congressional elections.

Statement from VS Founding Partner Brian Vicente:

“This was yet another historic election year for the cannabis policy reform movement. States in all four corners of the country voted to roll back failed prohibition policies and replace them with sensible laws that regulate cannabis similarly to other legal products. These new state laws will end the needless criminalization of countless individuals who use cannabis responsibly for medical, therapeutic or recreational purposes. These states will see significant economic benefits as the legal cannabis industry continues to expand and supplant the illicit market. The new business opportunities, job creation and tax revenue that accompany these news laws could not come at a better time, as states work to make up ground lost to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. This past decade, the movement to end cannabis prohibition has made historic strides forward every couple years — 2020 was no exception.”