Voters in five states are considering ballot measures that would legalize cannabis for adult and/or medical use, and the heated races for president and control of Congress could affect ongoing efforts to reform cannabis laws at the federal level.
In Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota, voters will decide whether to legalize and regulate cannabis for adults 21 and older. In Mississippi and South Dakota, voters will consider establishing state-regulated medical cannabis programs. See below for links to more information about the ballot measures and a map showing all the states where cannabis is legal or on the ballot.
Attorneys and policy professionals at leading national cannabis law firm Vicente Sederberg LLP and its policy consulting affiliate, VS Strategies, are available to provide commentary and analysis on a wide range of cannabis-related issues leading up to and following Election Day. See below for a list of featured team members, their focus areas, and links to their bios.
This week, VS began publishing a series of columns about cannabis-related election issues on its VS Insights blog, beginning with pieces about federal policy impacts and the New Jersey legalization measure. The firms have also scheduled a post-election webinar for November 19, which will focus on federal legalization in the aftermath of the presidential and congressional elections; business opportunities and licensing issues in states that adopt new medical and adult-use cannabis laws; and the general corporate outlook for cannabis-related businesses in 2021.
VS and VSS team members played leading roles in the drafting, passage, and implementation of Colorado’s legalization initiative in 2012-2013. Since then, they have been at the forefront of similar policy changes across the country and around the world, providing legal counsel and policy guidance to governments, trade associations, businesses, nonprofits, and others. VS partners Charles Alovisetti and Cassia Furman also recently co-authored a book on cannabis business and legal issues, which includes contributions from several additional VS attorneys and team members.“The Cannabis Business: Understanding Law, Finance, and Governance in America’s Newest Industry” (Routledge, 2020) is scheduled for publication at the end of the year.
Statement from VS founding partner Brian Vicente:
“This could be one of the most momentous election years in history for the movement to end cannabis prohibition. Major cannabis policy reform measures are being voted on in all four corners of the country. From Arizona to New Jersey and Montana to Mississippi, Americans are calling for cannabis to be regulated and treated like other products that are legal for adult or medical use. Voters in these states have watched as nearby states successfully implement these laws, and not surprisingly they want to enjoy the same benefits. When the dust settles after Election Day, cannabis could very well be legal for adult use in one-third — and for medical use in two-thirds — of the United States.”
Statement from VS founding partner Christian Sederberg:
“The cannabis industry is closely watching this year’s federal elections. The outcomes of the race for the presidency and control of the Senate will have a significant impact on cannabis policy reform. While the Trump administration has generally respected state cannabis laws, the Biden-Harris ticket has expressed support for legislative reform at the federal level. More significantly, a Democratic majority in the Senate would usher in new committee chairs, opening the door to consideration and possible passage of a range of cannabis-related bills. While we are confident that federal legalization will happen eventually, this election could speed up the process and result in real reform.”
Current U.S. Cannabis Laws and 2020 State Ballot Measures
View/download a map showing the states that have legalized cannabis and the states voting on legalization measures this year.
Arizona (Proposition 207)
Mississippi (Initiative 65 and Alternative 65A)
Montana (Constitutional Initiative 118 and Initiative 190)
New Jersey (Public Question 1)
South Dakota (Amendment A and Initiated Measure 26)
National cannabis law and policy leaders from Vicente Sederberg LLP and VS Strategies are available to provide commentary and analysis
Areas of specialization include implementation of new state laws and regulations; economic impacts; cannabis business matters and corporate outlook; hemp; and federal policy
Featured Sources and Focus Areas
Charles Alovisetti – Partner and Corporate Practice Chair, VS
National corporate outlook; Montana and South Dakota licensing issues and business opportunities
Jennifer Cabrera – Counsel, VS
New Jersey legalization, licensing and business opportunities
Cassia Furman – Partner, VS
Implementation of new state laws; regulatory issues; local government issues
Shawn Hauser – Partner and Hemp and Cannabinoids Practice Chair, VS
Impact of federal elections on federal and state hemp policy matters
Sally Kent Peebles – Partner, VS
Mississippi licensing issues and business opportunities
Andrew Livingston – Director of Economics and Research, VS
Economic impacts of new state laws; supply and demand issues
Jerrico Perez Bennett – Senior Associate Attorney, VS
Arizona licensing and business opportunities
Christian Sederberg – Founding Partner, VS; Chair, Cannabis Trade Federation
Federal policy matters and national industry outlook
Brian Vicente – Founding Partner, VS
State legalization and medical cannabis laws; national outlook for legalization; licensing and business opportunities
Jordan Wellington – Partner, VSS
Implementation of new state laws; regulatory issues