The results once again affirm that marijuana legalization is a uniquely popular issue with voters of all political persuasions. The results also continue a multi-decade long trend of marijuana legalization advocates achieving success at the ballot box. Prior to this election, voters have decided affirmatively on 28 separate ballot measures legalizing cannabis (18 measures legalizing medical marijuana, 10 measures legalizing adult use).
Now we have additional successes to add to this growing list. Voters legalized the possession of marijuana by adults in Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and in South Dakota. The measures in Arizona, Montana, and South Dakota each permit adults to possess and cultivate marijuana for personal use and establish a regulated retail market. In New Jersey, voters decided on a public ballot question. Lawmakers must now enact enabling legislation in order to amend state laws to comport it with the voters’ decision.
Voters also approved the legalization of medical cannabis access in two states, Mississippi and South Dakota. In Mississippi, voters chose between two dueling initiatives — favoring a measure placed on the ballot by patient advocates, and rejected a more restrictive alternative measure placed on the ballot by state lawmakers.
In total, 15 states have now either enacted or have voted to enact adult-use legalization laws, while 36 states have either enacted or have voted to enact medical marijuana access laws.