Election 2020: All you need to know about cannabis legalization on the ballotBruce Barcott, David Downs, and Max Savage LevensonMay 28, 2020
This page was updated on May 28, 2020.
A total of 34 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.
When is the election?
- The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020.
- State primaries for non-presidential offices are usually held in September.
- The Republican National Convention is scheduled for Aug. 24-27 in Charlotte, NC, but it could be a scaled-down event.
- The Democratic National Convention is scheduled for Aug. 17-20 in Milwaukee, WI, but it too could be broken into smaller satellite events.
How do I vote?
- Use Headcount’s Cannabis Voter Project to help you register to vote.
- Voter registration deadlines vary by state, and voting method. Do not delay.
What am I voting on?
The next President of the United States. Also: 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.
What’s at stake?
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.
Cannabis on 2020 state ballots
Legalization measures already on the Nov. 2020 ballot
|State||Rec or Medical||Measure name||Advocates||Opponents|
|Mississippi||Medical||I-190 and CI-118||Mississippians for Compassionate Care||None yet|
|New Jersey||Recreational||None yet||No official campaign organization yet||None yet|
|South Dakota||Recreational||Amendment A||New Approach South Dakota||None yet|
|South Dakota||Medical||IM 26||New Approach South Dakota||None yet|
Legalization measures fighting to make the Nov. 2020 ballot
|State||Medical or Recreational||Name/Sponsor||Signatures needed||Signature deadline|
|Arizona||Recreational||Smart & Safe Arizona||237,465 (done but not yet filed)||July 2|
|Arkansas||Recreational||Arkansans for Cannabis Reform||90,000||July 3|
|Montana||Recreational (two measures have been filed)||New Approach Montana||25,468 and 50,936, respectively||June 19|
|Nebraska||Medical||Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana||130,000||July 8|
|North Dakota||Recreational||Legalize ND||13,452||July 6|
|Ohio||Recreational||Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol||443,958||July 1|
Legalization measures punted to the 2021 election
|State||Medical or Recreational||Name/Sponsor||Future plans|
|Florida||Recreational||Make It Legal Florida||Aiming for Nov. 2021|
|Idaho||Medical||Idaho Cannabis Coalition||Aiming for Nov. 2021|
|Missouri||Recreational||Missourians for a New Approach||Aiming for Nov. 2021|
|Oklahoma||Recreational||New Approach PAC||Aiming for Nov. 2021|
Biden vs. Trump: Where they stand on cannabis
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.
- Joe Biden’s drug war record is so much worse than you think
- Few impressed with Biden’s weak new marijuana decriminalization plan
- Former drug warrior Biden unveils cannabis decriminalization plan
- Biden pledges tepid support for cannabis half-measure
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:
- Why is Trump targeting medical marijuana in an election year?
- Time to admit it: Trump opposes cannabis legalization
- Pro-cannabis Trump voters feeling betrayed
- Trump tariffs leading to shoddier, pricier vape carts
- Could Trump pull a ‘cannabis surprise’ in 2020? It’s not impossible
- Sessions rescinds Cole Memo, which protected state-legal cannabis from feds
Where the also-rans stand
- Pete Buttigieg wants to end the war on weed—but not in South Bend
- Mayor Pete gets schooled at a ‘tidy’ Las Vegas cannabis grow
- Where presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar stands on marijuana (via Marijuana Moment)
- Is Bernie Sanders still ahead of the curve on cannabis?
- Bernie says he’d legalize cannabis through executive order
- Bernie Sanders co-sponsors the Marijuana Justice Act
- How Elizabeth Warren became a cannabis champion without ever getting high
- Here’s what’s in Elizabeth Warren’s legalization plan