Law Street Media

Voters in Four States Choose to Legalize Recreational Marijuana

Marijuana rolled into cigarettes.

Shot of dried marijuana and a rolled joint

After Tuesday’s votes, New Jersey, Arizona, Montana, and South Dakota will join the other 11 states and the District of Columbia as jurisdictions where cannabis is legal for recreational use. Marijuana Business Daily reported that the addition of these four states “could generate more than $2.5 million” for sales of medical and recreational cannabis each year through 2024. 

The article said that these votes gave state marijuana legalization measures a 100% win rate in the 2020 election. In addition to the states which legalized recreational use of the substance, Mississippi legalized marijuana for medical uses, joining 33 other states that have already taken that step. 

“With the passage of these initiatives, one-third of the population now lives in jurisdictions that have legalized cannabis for adult use, and 70% of all states have embraced cannabis for medical use,” said Steve Hawkins, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project.

Axios reported that this legalization is likely a large opportunity for the marijuana industry and that it could help increase tax revenue for the states whose budgets are likely lower due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

New Jersey state Sen. Nicholas Scutary told reporters that he hopes to introduce legislation on the matter on Thursday, and there is a possibility of a public hearing on Monday. The state has 12 medical marajuana operators who could qualify automatically to provide cannabis for recreational use, but the adult market is not expected to launch until the second half of next year. The existing operators are reportedly struggling to meet demand currently. 

According to Marijuana Business Daily, Arizona’s decision to approve the substance will lead to a large cannabis market; the state has “an entrenched medical program and 130 existing operators.” The article expects that Arizona’s launch for adult recreational use will be in early 2021. Montana also has a medical marijuana market, which will help the state transition into recreational use. 

South Dakota became the first state to legalize medical marijuana and recreational marijuana at the same time, with the measure for medical marijuana receiving 69 percent of the vote and the constitutional amendment for recreational marijuana receiving 53 percent of the vote. These are both set to become law in July 2021.

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