By Roland Sebestyén
Four states will hold a cannabis referendum during the 2020 US election day to decide on adult use. At the same time, Mississippi will be able to have a say on medicinal cannabis.
According to Forbes, voters in Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota will have (recreational) cannabis legalisation on their ballots.
Of these four states, South Dakota might be the most intriguing. It’s one of the few states where both medicinal and recreational use of the drug are illegal.
As of now, testing positive for cannabis can be a misdemeanor offense and could be punishable with a fine or even jail time.
However, this might change in a week’s time. After years of campaigning, South Dakota gives the decision to its people and will hold a referendum on full legalisation.
Although it’s way too early to predict what will happen, experts are hopeful some of the key states eventually say yes to cannabis.
Jay Czarkowski, a cannabis entrepreneur and co-founder of CannaAdvisors, said: “New Jersey will legalise. I’ve always referred to New Jersey as the big domino. Once it passes in New Jersey, the other states, like New York or Pennsylvania, will not have a choice but to legalise.
“Mississippi is also looking good. Regionally, Mississippi is equally significant as New Jersey. It’ll be the first ballot initiative for the Deep South. It’s significant for the states down there to follow suit.
“Arizona has a very well-established medical cannabis program. If they get adult-use passed, it will immediately turn into higher sales because there’s already an established medical market.”
In New Jersey, medicinal cannabis has been legal since 2010 for people with severe conditions, including cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, seizure disorder, Lou Gerhig’s disease, or severe muscle spasms.
Since then, a number of conditions have been added to the list. Now, more people suffering from a wide range of medical issues than ever have access to medicinal cannabis in the state.
Meanwhile, Mr. Czarkowski added that full legalisation would also have a positive effect on local economies.
He said: “It’s not just benefiting those who grow and sell it, it’s benefiting local real estate, tradesmen, carpenters who have to build these businesses, the attorneys, accountants, the many jobs that are created.
“If you look at the populations of New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, the combined population is more than California.
“This underscores the massive economic opportunity once these three states pass.”
Although New York and Pennsylvania won’t have a referendum at this time, Forbes reports that the governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolfe, said utilising cannabis was in his Covid-19 recovery plan.