Updated, November 4th, 2020.
Four years ago, what has been coined a “green wave” swept across the U.S. during election season, resulting in a large number of U.S. states that legalized recreational cannabis use. This set the stage for additional states to follow suit and created a boon for the market, which saw sales of legal marijuana hit $6.7 billion that momentous election year.
Fast forward to 2020, and the U.S. has seen green wave round two, with five new states voting on cannabis legalization. This comes as no surprise as consumer demand for cannabis continues to surge – even more so during the coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, cannabis tax revenue has been a boon for many state and municipal pocketbooks that have suffered from lagging tax revenue amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Today, we’re going to take a look at the states that put legal weed to a vote on election day. But first, let’s take a look at the results of the first green wave, specifically the states where cannabis is legal for recreational use.
Which U.S. States Have Legalized Recreational Cannabis?
33 U.S. states now have legal cannabis for medical use, and in eleven of those states, cannabis is approved for recreational use.
- New Jersey
- South Dakota
You can read more about where cannabis is legal for medical use here.
States That Voted on Legal Cannabis in November 2020
As mentioned above, five new states have been added to that list on November 3rd.
New Jersey: VOTED YES
Like many U.S. states right now, New Jersey is facing a major budget shortfall: a whopping $10 billion shortfall to be exact. New Jersey’s last vote on legal cannabis failed to deliver but given the potential hundreds of millions in tax revenue legal cannabis could yield, many were hoping the bill might just make it through.
This time around, a majority of New Jersey voters approved the measure to legalize recreational cannabis.
Arizona VOTED YES
Interestingly, Arizona voted on cannabis legalization back in 2016, but the measure was struck down with “no” votes from a little over half of the state’s voters. Opponents to that bill included a pharmaceutical company and strangely, tire company Discount Tire, which donated $1 million to oppose the legalization bill.
However, since 2016, the cannabis industry has become even more powerful and this time, Arizona’s legalization bill has some backing from some major cannabis companies.
On November 3rd, the legalization of recreational cannabis won by a large margin in the state of Arizona.
Mississippi VOTED YES (MEDICAL CANNABIS ONLY)
Mississippi is the poorest state in the U.S. with a per capita income of $20,670, but the state is hoping to help reverse it fortune, or at least boost its tax coffers, by voting on legalizing medical marijuana use come November.
The measure passed, allowing patients with debilitating conditions to legally obtain medical marijuana based on doctors’ recommendations. With the new bill, growers and dispensaries will be taxed at 7%, drawing an estimated $750 – $800 million in tax revenue by 2024.
South Dakota (VOTED YES)
Up until now, states voting yes to legal weed have largely been “blue” states. Now, South Dakota was among the first Republican states to throw its hat in the cannabis ring, with both medical and recreational cannabis on the roster this election season.
The estimated potential tax revenue of $29.3 million from the sale of cannabis was sure to have captured the interest of legislators in the state. This is a state that many in the cannabis industry have been keeping an eye on and the results are in. 62% of South Dakota residents voted yes for South Dakota’s Measure 26 to legalize the sale of recreational cannabis.
Montana (VOTED YES)
Meanwhile in Montana, a bill to legalize recreational cannabis was met with robust approval by voters, with the state’s MT Initiative 190 to Legalize Marijuana capturing 56.6% of the vote. Montana proposes a 20% tax on cannabis sales in the state, a move that would bring in an estimate $48 million in revenue for the state by the year 2025.
Soaring consumer interest in cannabis combined states and municipalities’ growing need for tax revenue, has propelled the legal cannabis industry into even greater momentum. At MNI, we’ve compiled an entire database of businesses in the cannabis industry and have seen the numbers of companies involved in the industry increasing by the day. Between growers, producers, dispensaries, equipment and service providers, our prospecting database for the cannabis industry now stands at 11,000 companies and 13,000 decision makers.
What is the North American Cannabis Industry Database? This is the cannabis industry’s first-ever business database profiling over 11,000 companies & 13,000 contacts in the North American cannabis industry. Perfect for prospecting, sales, marketing, business development, recruiting and more. Click here to learn more.