Cannabis wins big on election night

Nov 4, 2020

While we still wait anxiously for the results of last night’s presidential election, we do know about one clear winner — cannabis. Voters across the country came out in support of cannabis referendums overwhelmingly, from New Jersey to Arizona. Here’s a rundown of all the winners in last night’s election.

New Jersey

According to a statement from NORML, “New Jersey voters have overwhelmingly decided in favor of Question 1, which calls for amending the state constitution in a manner that accommodates for the adult-use possession, production, and sale of marijuana to those age 21 or older.”

“Garden State voters spoke resoundingly,” said NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri in a statement. “They are demanding their lawmakers end the failed policy of marijuana criminalization, and instead pursue a more sensible path of regulation and legalization.”

He continued: “Law enforcement in New Jersey arrests more citizens each year for minor marijuana violations than almost any other state in the nation. By moving to end this fiscally wasteful and morally repugnant policy, state officials will now be able to prioritize law enforcement resources toward combating more serious criminal activities, better respect the personal freedom and civil liberties of their citizens, end the racist application of marijuana prohibition laws against communities of color, and direct new tax revenues toward important social programs such as education and infrastructure development.”


In another statement, NORML writes, “Arizona voters have approved Proposition 207, a statewide ballot initiative legalizing the possession, use, and commercial sale of marijuana for adults. The Act permits those age 21 or older to possess up to one ounce of cannabis and directs revenue from retail cannabis sales to fund various public education and safety programs. Adults may cultivate up to six plants for non-commercial purposes in a private residence. Those with marijuana convictions are permitted to petition the courts to have their records expunged.”

“Until now, Arizona had imposed some of the strictest prohibition laws in the country; in some instances, the possession of even small amounts of marijuana was classified as a felony,” said NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri in a statement. “By rejecting this failed policy, no Arizonan going forward will be saddled with a criminal conviction for engaging in the personal possession or cultivation of cannabis, or face the lifelong stigma that comes with it.”

South Dakota

NORML writes, “South Dakotans have overwhelmingly approved Measure 26, which legalizes the medical use of cannabis by authorized patients… The newly passed initiative permits qualified patients to possess and home-cultivate cannabis for medical purposes and establishes a state-regulated retail system for medical marijuana sales. Thirty-four states and the District of Columbia have enacted similar medical cannabis access legislation.”

“South Dakotans sent an unequivocal message in support of allowing patients the ability to legally access it under the advice of their physician,” stated NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri in a statement. “When operational, this program will provide lab-tested medical cannabis products to thousands of South Dakotans who can benefit from them. These patients cannot wait, and voters were right to take action to make this access a reality.”


Here, NORML writes, “A majority of voters in Mississippi voted to approve Initiative 65, which provides for a state-regulated marijuana access system for qualified patients. Conversely, voters rejected a far more restrictive effort placed on the ballot by the legislature, Measure 65A.”

“Initiative 65 puts the needs and interests of patients first. This was a grassroots effort to provide patients with access to a treatment option that patients already enjoy in 34 other states and in the District of Columbia,” said NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano in a statement. “By contrast, Measure 65A was a cynical effort by lawmakers to misdirect voters. The same state lawmakers that for decades had refused to ever seriously address the issue were the ones behind 65A, and voters wisely rejected their campaign.”


Finally, NORML notes, “Voters in Montana have passed Initiative 190, which allows for the use, production and sale of marijuana by adults. Voters additionally passed Constitutional Initiative 118, which limits marijuana use to those ages 21 or older.”

“This result illustrates that support for adult-use marijuana legalization extends across geographic and demographic lines,” stated NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri in a statement. “Marijuana legalization is not exclusively a ‘blue’ state issue, but an issue that is supported by a majority of all Americans -- regardless of party politics. By approving these voter-initiated measures, Montana now joins the growing list of states that have recognized that it is time to end marijuana criminalization and move forward with a new approach.”

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