November 3, 2020 was a good day for cannabis. Voters in New Jersey, South Dakota, Montana, and Arizona legalized recreational cannabis. Fifteen states now support recreational cannabis use among adults. In South Dakota and Mississippi, voters said yes to medical cannabis initiatives. South Dakota (!) was thus the first state to simultaneously legalize adult-use and medical cannabis.
“The results of the ballot initiatives clearly showcase that support for adult-use [cannabis] legalization extends across geographic and party lines and is supported by a majority of Americans. Legal [cannabis] is becoming the American norm,” Canopy Growth CEO David Klein told analysts. Canopy is a cannabis company backed by the same brand that owns Corona beer.
Conservative and liberal politicians threw their might behind pro-cannabis campaigns. It’s no longer a partisan issue. Many believe New Jersey and Arizona could potentially turn into billion-dollar markets. New Jersey, in particular, is being eyeballed by industry leaders because of its proximity to Pennsylvania and New York, two behemoth states that have yet to legalize adult-use cannabis.
“With New Jersey, we’re not just looking at in [sic] the context of New Jersey but that whole Northeast corridor,” Jim King, executive vice president of corporate affairs for Scotts Miracle-Gro, told CNN Business. Scotts has invested heavily in hydroponics in recent years.
The recently approved initiatives in South Dakota, Montana, and Arizona created pathways for regulatory markets. In New Jersey, voters chose to amend the State Constitution to allow for adult cannabis consumption and a 6.625% tax on sales. It’s now up to NJ lawmakers to create a viable program and hammer out the rest of the details.
Cannabis advocates have more than just the recent state elections to celebrate. President-elect Joe Biden is viewed favorably by those hoping for federal legalization. Stock in leading cannabis companies soared Monday after the election.
“We believe the Biden win is an important step on the path to federal permissibility of cannabis in the U.S. market through decriminalization and descheduling,” explained Canopy CEO Klein.
Next month, the House of Representatives will vote on the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, a bill that would end federal cannabis restrictions.