U.S. Election 2020: Cannabis Legalization Measures
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The 2020 U.S. election is quickly approaching and it could be another huge year for marijuana reform. Cannabis legalization measures affect every American citizen, no matter what political party they affiliate with. Marijuana advocates come from all backgrounds and political parties, so if ganja is important to you, whether for medical reasons, economic incentives, or simply for recreation, make sure you remember to vote in your state and take cannabis activism into your own hands.
When is the U.S. election 2020?
The general election is always held during the first week of November. This year, the U.S. election falls on Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020. Due to COVID-19, many people will be avoiding the U.S. election polls and instead taking advantage of voting by mail. Lots of ballots have already been received and turned in to dropboxes by voters. The United States Postal Service recommends to get your ballot returned to a dropbox as soon as possible so they are able to better handle the influx of mail-in ballots prior to the election date. To check where the closest dropbox location, early voting location, or polling place is, simply enter your address into GetToThePolls.com.
Latest legalization news 2020
Six states will have marijuana legalization measures on the ballot. Yay! The measures vary from recreational use to medical use and decriminalization. Six additional states will be voting on legalization in 2021, many of which were pushed back from this year’s ballot due to issues related to COVID-19. If passed, U.S. cannabis legal states will have four new members, while two will be added to the list of legal medical marijuana states. And while not a public vote, let’s not forget about the More Act, which could decriminalize pot at the federal level. It is on the schedule to be voted on by the U.S. House of Representatives sometime by the end of the year.
Cannabis measures on the ballot
While the presidential race overshadows most of the other elections and measures on the ballot, don’t forget to research your local propositions. This year, Americans will also be voting on 33 open U.S. Senate seats and 435 seats in the House of Representatives. Local elections include 11 state governors, many state senators and representatives, and lots of city and county council members. The states that will be voting on cannabis legalization are:
- Arizona – Prop 207 will legalize marijuana for recreational use.
- Mississippi – I-190 and CI-118 will legalize marijuana for recreational use.
- Montana – Initiative 65 and Initiative 65A will allow cannabis for medical patients.
- New Jersey – Public Question 1 will legalize recreational use of marijuana.
- Oregon – Measure 110 will make non-commercial possession of any controlled substance (essentially any illicit drug) nothing more than a Class E violation punishable by no more than a $100 fine. It will also designate funds from the state’s marijuana tax and state prisons to create a statewide drug addiction treatment and recovery program.
- South Dakota – Amendment A will modify the South Dakota state constitution to allow the recreational and medical use of marijuana as well as legalize the sale of industrial hemp.
Trump vs Biden: What do they think about cannabis?
From the late 80s through the 90s, Biden was the face of America’s war on drugs, but has since taken somewhat of a less conservative stance on pot. In the past, he has introduced a number of bills that called for stricter prison sentences for possession of controlled substances including pot, which led to a spike in incarcerations. Biden was also responsible for helping to build the civil asset forfeiture system, advocated for mandatory minimums, and approved the militarization of police. While he now speaks about decriminalization, saying that no one should be jailed for possession or smoking weed, he does not approve of federal legalization.
Trump is also against federal legalization of cannabis. He was once quoted saying that legalization should be up to the states, but in 2018 he rescinded the Cole Memorandum, which states that federal prosecutors shouldn’t pursue cannabis convictions in legal states. Many people believed the president would take a more lenient stance on pot to secure more voters in the 2020 election, however, his 2021 budget proposal included removing protections on medical marijuana.
More Act 2020
The More Act was actually introduced to the senate all the way back in June 2019, but has continued to be delayed. If all goes well, the U.S. House of Representatives should be voting on the bill by the end of 2020. The official name is Bill S.2227, but it is often referred to as the More Act. If passed, the bill will decriminalize and deschedule marijuana at the federal level. This would be one of the most important accomplishments in cannabis reform of all time. Currently cannabis is considered a Schedule 1 drug, which is the same category as LSD and heroin. The More Act would lower the charges of cultivation, possession, and distribution of cannabis from a criminal offense and expunge certain petty marijuana offenses. In addition, the cannabis bill would add a 5% tax on all legal products which would go towards supporting those who have been negatively impacted by the government’s war on drugs in the past. Since businesses in the cannabis industry are technically illegal under federal law, they are unable to secure funding or process transactions through most banks (hence the cash only approach at dispensaries) and can’t access any federal assistance such as coronavirus relief. The More Act would change this since cannabis businesses would be deemed legitimate at the federal level.
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