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Article 11  5 More States Could Legalize Cannabis on Election Day

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Jesse Betend

Trichomes Staff

Vermont, last month, became the 11th state to legalize recreational cannabis, but it may not be the new kid on the block for long. 

In addition to filling the country’s highest office on November 3rd, voters in five states will also get the opportunity to weigh in on a number of initiatives to legalize forms of medical or recreational cannabis. 

Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota will all vote to approve recreational legalization, while South Dakota and Mississippi will consider medical programs.  

Arizona’s measure would allow adults 21 and over to possess up to an ounce of cannabis. In addition, adults would be allowed up to six plants to a total of 12 per household. If approved, supporters estimate the measure could generate as much as $300 million in annual tax revenue. 

Montana, on the other hand, will have two cannabis-related bills, one legalizing small sales of cannabis, the other establishing 21 as the legal age for cannabis possession.  

New Jersey’s bill is much shorter on details. While Public Question 1 would legalize cannabis in the state, the approach avoids specifics of regulation and taxation preferring to allow lawmakers to work out the details if the measure is passed.  

South Dakota would impose a 15% tax, potentially the lowest of the four, however it also restricts home-growers to three plants per household. 

Potentially joining the 33 states that have legalized medical cannabis, Mississippi and South Dakota will seek to pass initiatives which would allow cannabis for patients with a doctor’s recommendation. 

On the question of handling previous cannabis-related convictions, some programs are more ambitious than others. Montana would allow individuals to seek either resentencing or expungement, while Arizona allows for the expungement records, but stops short of a system for the retroactive release of individuals currently in prison.

Even if they pass, how and when successful programs get up and running depends largely on the outcome of the election. Besides New Jersey’s “fill-in-the-blank” approach, Arizona, South Dakota, and Montana all include language that would give local governments the power to ban cannabis businesses within their borders.

To follow how state and local ambivalence affects cannabis even after it’s legalized, read Vermont Legalizes Recreational Cannabis Without Gov's Sign-off and Four Years After Legalization, Ohio Commits to Cannabis on


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