States Legalize Cannabis in 2020

There were some major cannabis legal developments in 2020, many of which reflected a more welcoming environment for the cannabis industry in the United States as more and more states legalize marijuana. One of the most significant developments came on election night as voters in Arizona, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota chose to legalize cannabis for either recreational use or medical use.

To learn more about states voting to legalize cannabis in 2020, continue reading this blog. And don’t forget to check out other entries in Scythian’s “2020 in Review” blog series: Part 2 on the cannabis industry thriving during the COVID-19 pandemic and Part 3 on Congress decriminalizing marijuana.

Arizona, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota Vote to Legalize Cannabis

Perhaps the biggest development in the cannabis world last year was the overwhelming success of cannabis legalization measures on November 3. On election night 2020, voters in five (5) states were able to voice their support for the legalization of cannabis in Arizona, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota. The result: a clean sweep for cannabis legalization.

Voters in all five states were in favor of cannabis reform, choosing to legalize cannabis for either recreational use or medical use. In all five states, the margin of victory was clear and decisive: the South Dakota medical cannabis measure passed with nearly 70% of the vote, and the Mississippi medical marijuana measure passed with 62% of the vote. Moreover, exit polls on election night showed that there was a bipartisan consensus that included both Republicans and Democrats voting in favor of cannabis legalization.

South Dakota voters made history by becoming the first state to go from a total ban on adult-use cannabis to complete legalization: both recreational use and medical use will soon be allowed in South Dakota. The state’s medical cannabis law will go into effect first, to be followed later by implementation of the recreational cannabis law. Meanwhile, Arizona, Montana, and New Jersey are set to legalize cannabis for recreational use, and Mississippi will be legalizing cannabis for medical use.

Cannabis Legalization to Boost State Tax Revenues

The legalization of cannabis in Arizona, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota is expected to provide local municipalities with significant tax revenues. That’s because the cannabis reform laws will have provisions that allow for the regulation and taxation of legal cannabis sales by state-licensed dispensaries. At a time when many states are struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic, additional tax revenues generated by adult-use cannabis sales should provide a much-needed boost to state and local economies.

What Is the Future of Cannabis Legalization in the United States?

A total of 36 states have now legalized medical cannabis use, with 15 of those states also legalizing cannabis for recreational use. The strong support for marijuana legalization in different regions of the country – East, West, South, and Midwest – on Election Night 2020 suggests that more states could be legalizing cannabis in the years ahead. There are already efforts underway to get cannabis legalization on the 2022 ballot in several mid-Atlantic states, including Connecticut, New York, and Pennsylvania.

The continued push for marijuana legalization across the U.S. should provide a significant boost to the cannabis industry. There has been a surge in cannabis acquisitions and investments by major players in the U.S. cannabis industry as more states look primed to legalize cannabis either through legislation or ballot measures.

Contact Scythian Cannabis Real Estate

Scythian Real Estate, which is based out of Colorado, is a privately held cannabis real estate fund that works with many of the largest cannabis operators in the country. Cannabis operators that are looking to expand their reach into new markets should contact Scythian Real Estate for additional information.


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