September 17, 2020

Election 2020: All you need to know about cannabis legalization on the ballot

This page was updated on Sept. 10, 2020.

UPDATE, Sept 10: Nebraska high court kills 2020 medical marijuana legalization measure 

In a devastating ruling for patients and advocates, the Nebraska Supreme Court has removed the Nebraska Medical Cannabis Constitutional Amendment from the Nov. 3, 2020 ballot. The court ruled that the amendment did not meet the strict rules for a voter-initiated measure required by state law. More on this soon. 

Election 2020: Legalization on the ballot

A total of 35 states now allow medical marijuana. Of those, 11 states plus Washington, D.C. have also legalized cannabis for adults 21 and older. Here’s our map of which states are legal, featured in Leafy’s 2020 Jobs Count.

Quick facts:

When is the election?

The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020.

How do I vote?

What am I voting on?

The next president of the United States. Also drug legalization measures in 7 states; 33 US Senate seats; all 435 seats in the House of Representatives; 11 state governors; thousands of state senators and representatives; and many local city and county council races.

Which 6 states are voting on legalization measures on Nov. 3?

Four states are voting on adult-use (recreational) cannabis legalization: Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota.

Two states are voting on medical marijuana legalization: Mississippi, and South Dakota.

Oregon voters will consider two separate drug reform measures. One would legalize the medical use of psilocybin. The other would decriminalize small amounts of all drugs.

Full voter guides to all 6 legalization states

Leafly’s news team has created a fully reported guide to each state’s legalization measures, which are updated as new information arrives. Link to a specific state below:

Legalization on 2020 state ballots

Legalization measures on the Nov. 2020 ballot

Legalization measures punted to 2021 and beyond

State Medical or Recreational Name/Sponsor Future plans
Arkansas Recreational Arkansans for Cannabis Reform Failed to meet July 3 signature deadline, due to COVID-19 quarantine.
Florida Recreational Make It Legal Florida Aiming for Nov. 2021
Idaho Medical Idaho Cannabis Coalition Aiming for Nov. 2022
Ohio Recreational Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Aiming for Nov. 2021
North Dakota Recreational Legalize ND "We are moving forward with continuing petitioning, for the December 15, 2020, deadline to make the 2022 primary ballot."
Missouri Recreational Missourians for a New Approach Aiming for Nov. 2021
Oklahoma Recreational New Approach PAC Aiming for Nov. 2021

What’s at stake, overall?

Everything for cannabis: Federal and state adult-use cannabis legalization; medical cannabis policy reform; state-level legalization; as well the state and local leaders who will implement or block reform. To give an example, about 79,000 votes in three states decided the 2016 presidential election. By contrast, 100 million eligible voters did not vote in that election.

Who should I vote for?

  • It’s up to you. Read Leafly’s guides below, and other groups’ endorsements. Ask local and state candidates where they stand on legalization, and legal stores.
  • NORML recently graded governors on cannabis policy.
  • The Cannabis Voter Project tallies how members of Congress have voted on cannabis.

Biden vs. Trump: Where they stand on cannabis

Joe Biden

Joe Biden was an original drug warrior in the 1990s. His position has changed since then, but not by much. He’s now in favor of ‘decriminalization,’ not legalization.

Donald Trump

In his public statements, President Trump has been characteristically vague about cannabis legalization. But his administration’s actions have made it absolutely clear that the Trump White House wants nothing to do with legalization.

Here’s a selection of our coverage:

Where the also-rans stand

presidential candidates and where they stand on marijuana legalization

About 61% of Americans support marijuana legalization, Pew Research finds. (Leafly)

Mike Bloomberg:

Pete Buttigieg:

Amy Klobuchar:

Bernie Sanders:

Elizabeth Warren:

Andrew Yang:

Support legalization by registering to vote

Voter registration form created as a partnership between Leafly, HeadCount, and the Cannabis Voter Project.


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Bruce Barcott, David Downs, and Max Savage Levenson's Bio Image

Bruce Barcott, David Downs, and Max Savage Levenson

Bruce Barcott is Leafly's deputy editor and the author of 'Weed the People: The Future of Legal Marijuana in America.' David Downs is Leafly's California bureau chief and the author of 'Beyond Buds' and 'The Medical Marijuana Guidebook.' Leafly contributor Max Savage Levenson also writes about music for Pitchfork and Bandcamp.

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