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These Four States Will Vote on Legalizing Recreational Cannabis Tuesday

Four states vote on legalizing recreational cannabis November 4th. We discuss these crucial and unprecedented ballot measures that could set industry benchmarks.

Jason SanderJason Sander · Oct. 30, 2020 · 6 min read
These Four States Will Vote on Legalizing Recreational Cannabis Tuesday

After cannabis businesses were deemed essential during the coronavirus pandemic, this upcoming election is a pivotal one for four states voting on recreational cannabis. Markets in surrounding states hang in the balance of these four key states. Keep reading this article for crucial election information.


In 2016, a recreational legalization measure did not pass in Arizona by a slight margin, with 51.3% of voters saying “no” to allowing adults 21 years of age and older to purchase and consume cannabis products. The initiative for 2020, called Prop 207: The Smart and Safe Arizona act is on the general election ballot. After activists with the organization Smart and Safe Arizona gathered enough signatures, the ballot initiative was qualified by officials in the Grand Canyon State in August.

If Prop 207 passes this year, the law would permit persons aged 21 years of age and older to possess up to an ounce of cannabis - 5 grams of which can legally be that of concentrates. If caught by law enforcement possessing more than an ounce but under 2 ½ ounces, the offender would be charged with a petty crime. This petty crime will most likely be the equivalent of a traffic ticket. Possession of anything more than 2 ½ ounces will remain an arrestable crime in Arizona. However, there will need to be more clear rules defined as to what constitutes possession with intent to deliver and what defines personal use. This will occur if the measure passes.

"Experts at New Frontier Data estimate that a recreational cannabis market in Arizona will generate over $1 billion in just four years after legalizing."

Adults would reside in Arizona in homes by themselves and could grow up to six plants indoors legally. Citizens who live with one or more adults would be able to grow up to 12 plants in their homes. The Arizona Department of Health Services will be in charge of creating regulations and other rules regarding the adult-use cannabis market.

Regulations would have to be established on or before April 5th, 2021 - the date dispensaries are now slated to be permitted to open. Experts at New Frontier Data estimate that a recreational cannabis market in Arizona will generate over $1 billion in just four years after legalizing.

Edibles could not exceed 10 grams of THC per consumable item, and packages would be capped at a max of 100mg. Much like open container laws regarding alcohol consumption, consuming cannabis in public would be unlawful. However, public consumption would also be treated as a petty offense that results in a fine and not an arrest. Arizona has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to driving (or boating or flying planes) under the influence, and cannabis would fall under this policy.

If adult-use cannabis legalization passes in Arizona, the state would join its west-coast neighbors Nevada, Colorado, and California as well as Oregon and Washington state as areas that all have legal recreational cannabis. This would make one of the first areas of the U.S. from the utmost north to border state south states that would all have legal cannabis. Recreational cannabis would also likely cause an expansion of the medical program in the state - which is already over a quarter-million strong with medical patients and counting.

New Jersey

New Jersey voters are to decide on Public Question 1 on this year’s ballot - whether to legalize recreational cannabis, thanks to a legislative referral. Most legalization policy initiatives get qualified by voter signatures, but the ballot in the Garden State came from the state legislature. If voters decide they want recreational cannabis, the state constitution will be amended - legalizing it for adults 21 years of age and older. There is a state commission overseeing medical cannabis sales and regulation already in place in New Jersey, and the same regulatory body would be taxed with laws surrounding the recreational market.

"Public Question No. 1 would also create a legalized cannabis marketplace overseen by the State’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission,"

Joining Massachusetts and Vermont, New Jersey would become the third state in the northeast U.S. to legalize recreational cannabis. In Massachusetts, legal recreational sales began two years ago in November 2018. In July of 2018, Voters in Vermont decided to legalize adult-use cannabis, but retail sales have yet to be operational in the state. Adult-use legal cannabis sales in New Jersey can be operational in less time than other states, thanks to regulations and policies already being decided upon by policymakers last year. The New Jersey Assembly fell just short of passing a similar legalization measure last year, with only five votes needed to move legalization forward there.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Nicholas Scutari (D) sponsored last year’s adult-use bill that almost passed. The New Jersey lawmaker says he believes that his home state can be “a leader” in the Northeast United States for adult-use sales, according to Marijuana Moment. “Public Question No. 1 would also create a legalized cannabis marketplace overseen by the State’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission,” Senator Scutari said.

Polls say that people in New Jersey are in overwhelming support for the passing of legalization, as seven out of ten citizens indicated as such this summer. Another poll showed a majority of voters in favor of legal cannabis by a ratio of 2 to 1. Municipalities would have the legal right to deny cannabis sales in their area, as 70 of which have already said no to the job creation and tax revenue that legal cannabis would bring to their townships and cities. NJ.com reports that New Jersey law enforcement officers make an eyebrow-raising 100 cannabis-related arrests daily, the vast majority of which being that of a small amount for personal use. Passing Public Question 1 would hopefully reduce this unnecessary amount of arrests due to a plant.


An impressive 130,000 signatures were collected by cannabis activists in Montana from March to June, despite restrictions they faced because of COVID-19 lockdowns. The legalization measure is called statutory initiative 190, and if passed, cannabis would be taxed and regulated in the state. Officials with the MT Department of Revenue would be placed in charge of licensing as well as regulation in the event of passing adult-use legalization. Advocates and activists with the group New Approach Montana, who gathered the state signatures, say that legal sales could bring in $48 million a year by 2025.

In addition to passing adult-use cannabis, constitutional initiative 118 would also be required to pass. This initiative permits the state legislature the authority to establish the legal consumption age of cannabis in the state, according to New Approach MT. The state legislature is expected to designate that only Montanans aged 21 and older would be legally able to purchase cannabis products.


South Dakota

South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws and New Approach South Dakota, spearheaded legalization efforts in South Dakota, in which voters will decide on both a recreational market and a medical program on the same ballot. Even if neither of these two ballot initiatives pass, this unprecedented voter initiative could set a benchmark for other states with voters who want legalization.

Voters in South Dakota will decide on a medical cannabis program with Measure 26, and Amendment A for a recreational market simultaneously. The latter of the two measures would permit state lawmakers to regulate and tax cannabis as well as award licenses to establishments to sell to adults 21 and older. As is the case in New Jersey, far too many arrests in South Dakota are for personal consumption of a small amount of cannabis. Annual arrests went from 1,500 in 2007, up to more than 4,000 by 2017. If legalization were to occur in the state, these numbers should hopefully decline as well.

HashDash - Supporting Legalization and the Cannabis Community

We hope you found value in our state recreational cannabis legalization article. If you are in any of these four states, we urge you to get out and vote and tell your friends! The future of the cannabis community is literally in your hands.

Be sure to check back to our blog often, because we post fresh content several times every week! Connect with us on social media: @hashdash on all platforms.

HashDash is compiling an entire information database that will continue to answer your questions regarding all things cannabis as well as where to find the best dispensaries in your area. Be sure to sign up for HashDash to discover your cannabis matches if you haven’t already. As always, thanks for reading, and happy consuming!

Jason Sander
Jason SanderJason is a versatile writer and marketer with over ten combined years of experience working with clients in various industries. He couples this expertise with six years of writing for the cannabis sector as well as a passion for the business side, and the science behind the plant medicine.




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