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2020 Cannabis Legalization Ballot Measures

Last Updated on July 21, 2020

What a year it has been. In January 2020, the momentum behind signature-gathering campaigns for cannabis legalization ballot measures was surging. By March, it all abruptly came to a halt as communities started to shelter in place and social distance as a result of COVID-19. And now, we are seeing states, counties, and cities looking to cannabis as a way to generate more tax revenues that were diminished due to COVID-19 shutting down entire industries. 

Some states extended their deadlines for signature submission, while others allowed online signature collection. Legalization campaigns in Missouri, North Dakota, Arkansas, and Florida were unable to gather enough signatures to qualify their measures for the November ballot. Fortunately, the following states have succeeded in getting measures on the ballot, submitted signatures for verification, or are still actively collecting signatures. 


Arizona

  • Measure: Initiative 23, Smart and Safe Arizona Act
  • Program Type: Adult-Use 
  • Status: 420,000 Signatures Submitted on 1 Jul, verification in progress
  • Highlights:


California

  • Measure: Cannabis Hemp Heritage Act
  • Program Type: Adult-Use/Medical
  • Status: Signature Gathering In Progress
  • Highlights:
    • Caps the excise tax for commercial sales at 10% of the retail price
    • Requires that 50% of excise taxes collected to be used for the development, promotion, and assistance in the creation of industrial, nutritional, and medicinal cannabis hemp industries
    • Prohibits any and all taxation of medicinal cannabis
    • If you are a California resident and registered voter, click here to sign the petition


Idaho

  • Measure: Idaho Medical Marijuana Act
  • Program Type: Medical
  • Status: Signature gathering suspended due to coronavirus, a federal judge recently ruled that the state must make accommodations for a separate non-cannabis ballot campaign which may allow signature gathering to resume 
  • Highlights:
    • Patients and caregivers may possess up to four ounces of cannabis flower 
    • Qualifying conditions include Severe Pain, Chronic Pain, PTSD, and more
    • The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare would be required to adopt program rules no later than 120 days after the measure is approved
    • For more information, visit the Idaho Cannabis Coalition website


Mississippi

  • Measure: Initiative 65
  • Program Type: Medical
  • Status: Officially Qualified for November Ballot
  • Highlights:
    • This initiative was created and submitted by citizens
    • Allows patients with a doctor certification to access up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis per 14-day time period 
    • Qualifying conditions include chronic or debilitating pain, PTSD, and more
  • Measure: HC 39, Alternative 65A
  • Program Type: Medical
  • Status: Officially Qualified for November Ballot
  • Highlights:
    • This alternative ballot measure was introduced and approved by the Mississippi state legislature
    • Does not specific qualifying conditions, possession limits, or a tax rate
    • Leaves the details of the program up to the state legislature
    • Likely to be much more restrictive than Initiative 65


Montana

  • Measure: Statutory Initiative 190, Montana Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act
  • Program Type: Adult-Use
  • Status: Officially Qualified for November Ballot  
  • Highlights:
    • Would legalize, regulate, and tax adult-use cannabis in Montana 
    • Taxes for non-medical marijuana would be 20% 
  • Measure: Constitutional Initiative 118
  • Program Type: Adult-Use
  • Status: Officially Qualified for November Ballot
  • Highlights
    • Amendment to the state constitution to allow the legislature or people via ballot initiative to establish the legal age for purchasing, consuming, or possessing marijuana
    • Ultimately if this initiative does not qualify for the ballot, Statutory Initiative 190 will face additional opposition as it could allow individuals 18 and older to access cannabis 


Nebraska

  • Measure: Nebraska Medical Cannabis Constitutional Amendment
  • Program Type: Medical
  • Status: 182,000 signatures submitted on July 2nd, verification in progress
  • Highlights
    • Would allow qualified patients with approval from a licensed physician or nurse practitioner to access medical marijuana and “discreetly” grow marijuana for therapeutic use
    • Authorizes the state government to develop laws, rules, and regulations for the program


New Jersey

  • Measure: The New Jersey Marijuana Legalization Amendment
  • Program Type: Adult-Use
  • Status: Officially Qualified for November Ballot
  • Highlights
    • Legalizes adult-use cannabis for individuals age 21 and older
    • Allows for regulated cultivation, processing, and sale of retail cannabis
    • The constitutional amendment would take effect on January 1, 2021
    • New Jersey would be the first state in the Mid-Atlantic to legalize adult-use marijuana


Oklahoma

  • Measure: State Question 807 
  • Program Type: Adult-Use
  • Status: Signature Gathering In Progress
  • Highlights
    • Would legalize, regulate, and tax recreational cannabis for adults age 21 and over
    • 15% excise tax on non-medical retail cannabis sales
    • The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that signature-gather may resume after being suspended due to coronavirus
    • Supporters need to gather and submit 178,000 valid signatures within 90 days
    • Gathering enough signatures in the timeframe is unlikely 


South Dakota

  • Measure: Initiated Measure 26
  • Program Type: Medical
  • Status: Officially Qualified for November Ballot
  • Highlights
    • Qualified patients with doctor certification would be allowed to possess a maximum of three ounces of medical marijuana
    • Limits on the amount of cannabis products a person may possess would be set by the Department of Health
    • Patients registered to cultivate marijuana at home could grow three plants at minimum, or another amount as prescribed by a physician
    • Qualifying conditions include severe, debilitating pain
  • Measure: Constitutional Amendment A
  • Program Type: Adult-Use
  • Status: Officially Qualified for November Ballot
  • Highlights
    • Would legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana for individuals age 21 and older
    • Requires the Legislature to pass laws regarding hemp as well as laws ensuring access to marijuana for medical use
    • Individuals would be allowed to possess or distribute up to one ounce of marijuana
    • Marijuana sales would be taxed at 15%

With legalization likely in several new markets in Q4, remember it’s never too early to educate yourself about the specifics of these impending programs. We recommend that you begin to develop your business plans and articulation. 3C offers scalable service packages from hourly strategy sessions to comprehensive cannabis guidance, business planning, and content development to prepare for licensure and scalability. Once applications are released, you’ll need to navigate many specific regulatory requirements. Having the bulk of your business plan prepared gives you more time to develop a robust application.

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