Cannabusiness Advisory

In Case You Missed It: Election Day’s Green Wave

November 18, 2020


If the 2020 elections taught us anything about the burgeoning cannabis industry, it is that more Americans believe cannabis should be legalized now than ever before. A recent Gallup poll, released on November 9th, found that 68% of Americans believe cannabis should be legalized, which is the highest percentage in more than 50 years of polling. This is extraordinary growth since the Gallup polls first began tracking the American consensus on marijuana legalization back in 1969. At the time, only 12% of respondents were in the legalization camp.

Instead of a Red wave or Blue wave, America experienced a Green wave this November, which transcended party lines. Six states passed varying degrees of cannabis legalization and many by a larger margin than the presidential election. Additionally, two other jurisdictions had psychedelics mushrooms on the ballot. So which states were the big winners this year?

  • Arizona – Approved adult-use legalization
  • Mississippi – Approved medical use
  • Montana – Approved adult-use legalization
  • New Jersey – Approved adult-use legalization
  • Oregon- Approved legalization of psilocybin for therapeutic uses and Approved decriminalization of non-commercial possession of controlled substances
  • South Dakota – Approved both medical use and adult-use legalization
  • Montana – Approved adult-use legalization
  • Washington D.C.- Approved decriminalization of entheogenic plants and fungi

Polls were favorable for expanding cannabis legalization, but nobody predicted the magnitude of 2020’s Green wave. Although some states have not finished counting votes and election results are not considered official until certified, there’s a clear indication that the Green Wave of pro-cannabis voters and drug reform crossed party lines in many states.

In Arizona, Proposition 207 received 60.03% percent of the votes, where presidential candidates Joe Biden and Donald Trump received 49.4% and 49.1% of the votes, respectively.

In Mississippi, 73.67% voted on Initiative No. 65 as to whether Mississippi should establish a medical marijuana program, where Donald Trump received 58.1% of the votes, and Joe Biden received 40.5% of the votes.

In Montana, the Marijuana Legalization Initiative (Montana-I90) passed by roughly 56.9%, where Donald Trump received 56.9% of the vote, and Joe Biden received 40.5% of the vote.

In New Jersey, Ballot 1 passed by roughly 67%, where Joe Biden has 57.2% of the votes and Donald Trump has received 41.5% of the votes.

In Oregon, Measure 109 legalized psilocybin for therapeutic uses, and Measure 110 decriminalized non-commercial possession of the controlled substances received 55.74% and 58.47% of the votes, respectively. Joe Biden and Donald Trump received 56.9% and 40.6% of votes, respectively.

Under Oregon’s newly passed Measure 110 there would be to options pay a maximum fine of $100 or participate in a health assessment, rather than prison or jail time for non-commercial drug possession. The cannabis industry is entangled in Measure 110, as it reallocates how the state will distribute marijuana tax revenue. In part, the tax revenue will be used to fund the Drug Treatment and Drug Recovery Services Fund, which was recently developed to address addiction through its mission of establishing addiction and recovery centers, and more drug treatment and prevention programs.

In South Dakota, Measure 26 for the legalization of medical use and Amendment A for the legalization of adult used passed by 69.92% and 54.18%, respectively.   Donald Trump received 61.8% of the votes, while Joe Biden received 35.6%.

In Washington D.C., District of Columbia Initiative 81 passed by 76.18%, which decriminalizes hallucinogenic and psychedelic fungi and plants, where Joe Biden received 92.9% of the vote and Donald Trump received 5.5% of the vote.

Considering the palpable political division leading up to the 2020 election, marijuana and drug reform was one issue that both sides appeared to agree on.

So, who still opposes cannabis legalization? One interesting piece of data from the recent Gallup polls finds that older Americans tend to be less supportive, ultimately dragging out the process of national legalization while their younger counterparts overwhelmingly embrace the idea. Approximately 80% of Americans age 18 to 29 support legalization while 55% of Americans 65 and older agree. The majority is obviously still in favor, however, which is good news for the cannabis industry. The same dichotomy exists between Democrats and Republicans, with respectively 83% and 48% approval ratings for legalization.

If 2020 is any indication, the cannabis industry is here to stay and increasing in prevalence with each election year. In conclusion, it’ safe to say America rode a Green Wave this Election Day.

DISCLAIMER: Election results are unofficial until certified.

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