2020 could be another big year for our movement. Check this page for updates on all the states likely to vote on marijuana policy reform at the ballot box this November.
Arizona — After legalization suffered a narrow loss at the ballot box in 2016, a renewed attempt to end marijuana prohibition in Arizona is underway. The 2020 initiative most likely to succeed, spearheaded by Smart and Safe Arizona, must garner 237,645 voter signatures by July 2 to qualify for the November ballot. In March, the campaign announced it had collected over 320,000 signatures.
Arkansas — In 2016, Arkansas approved a medical marijuana law through a voter referendum. This year, activists are working to pass adult-use legalization initiatives. Though the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly slowed efforts, Arkansans for Cannabis Reform continues to collect signatures for an initiative to regulate and tax marijuana as well as a separate measure that would expunge marijuana offenses from individuals’ records and end ongoing sentences.
Florida — Unfortunately, a hardfought attempt to put legalization on the ballot came up short this year. Make it Legal Florida announced in January that it was discontinuing efforts to gather the 766,200 signatures needed to qualify. The task was made significantly more challenging by a 2019 election law approved by state lawmakers.
Idaho — Due to public health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, activists with the Idaho Cannabis Coalition have suspended their campaign to put a medical marijuana initiative on the ballot this year. The group vowed to continue its effort with the goal of qualifying in time for the 2022 election.
Mississippi — Mississippians will have an opportunity to vote on two medical marijuana ballot initiatives this November. After gathering well over the required number of signatures, Mississippians for Compassionate Care succeeded in qualifying a medical marijuana initiative, Initiative 65. And in March, state lawmakers voted to put a competing measure — which puts greater regulatory control in the hands of the state legislature — on the ballot, too.
Missouri — Unfortunately, Missourians for a New Approach, a campaign that began building support for an adult-use legalization voter initiative in early 2020, was forced to cease signature gathering efforts due to the COVID-19 pandemic and public health directives against social interaction.
Montana — In January, the newly formed New Approach Montana campaign filed two ballot initiatives for state review. One, a constitutional amendment requiring roughly 50,000 signatures to qualify, would allow lawmakers to establish a legal age for marijuana consumption. The other, a statutory measure that requires about half as many signatures, would establish a system to regulate and tax marijuana for adults’ use. Due to signature gathering challenges caused by COVID-19, the group submitted a lawsuit against the state requesting that electronic signatures be permitted for the ballot qualification process. A Missoula District Court judge denied that request, and on May 7, the campaign announced it would launch its signature drive on May 9 instituting a set of public health protocols to limit contact between circulators and petition signers.
Nebraska — After years of inaction by lawmakers, policymakers and patient advocates formed Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana. The campaign is currently collecting signatures to put a constitutional medical marijuana measure on the November ballot. Because of COVID-19, it is uncertain whether the campaign will succeed in gathering the roughly 130,000 voter signatures needed by early July to qualify.
New Jersey — Unlike most other marijuana policy ballot initiatives, which qualify through signature drives, New Jersey will vote on legalization later this year thanks to a legislative referral. After failing to find enough common ground to pass a bill in 2019, lawmakers opted to put a proposal before the voters.
North Dakota — Activists leading Legalize ND’s 2020 ballot initiative effort announced that it is unlikely they will be able to gather enough signatures to qualify this year as a result of public health concerns related to COVID-19.
South Dakota — Thanks to an impressive signature gathering effort last year, New Approach South Dakota and South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws succeeded in qualifying two marijuana policy reform initiatives for the 2020 ballot. One would establish a medical marijuana program, while the other would legalize and regulate marijuana for adults 21 and older. South Dakota will be the first state to vote on medical marijuana and adult-use legalization initiatives simultaneously.
South Dakota Secretary of State Steve Barnett (white shirt), MPP Deputy Director Matthew Schweich (blue blazer), and South Dakota campaign staff and volunteers stand alongside over 53,000 signatures being submitted to qualify the constitutional adult-use marijuana legalization ballot initiative.