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Home > Recreational cannabis supply approved by voters in four US states but rejected in New Zealand.

[EMCDDA] Recreational cannabis supply approved by voters in four US states but rejected in New Zealand. (07 Dec 2020)

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United States

On 3 November 2020, in tandem with the US presidential election, the four states of Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota voted on and approved proposals to introduce systems of home and retail supply of cannabis for recreational use for over-21s. In New Jersey, the proposal was placed on the ballot by the State Legislature, as the state has no possibility for public ballot initiatives. In the other three states, the proposals were public initiatives.

Of these, South Dakota is notable as two separate ballot measures legalised cannabis for medical and recreational purposes on the same day; the other states had already approved medical use some years earlier.

Legal sales for recreational use are unlikely to start for at least one year as the states have yet to design their cannabis retail systems. Local and municipal authorities may still introduce zoning restrictions.

The number of states where cultivation and use of cannabis by adults is legal for recreational purposes will now rise to 15 (not counting Washington DC); of these, only DC does not also allow commercial sales. These jurisdictions have a combined population of approximately 112 million people (33 % of the US population).

At the same time, the state of Mississippi voted to approve a system for medical use of cannabis, with 68 % in favour. Voters were given a choice of two options, and chose the more expansive Ballot Measure 65 (for those with qualifying conditions; 22 were listed), with 74 % of the vote, rather than the more restrictive Ballot Measure 65A (for those with terminal medical conditions). [Table provided on website].....

[See also EMCDDA news report 4 May 2021 - Legalisation of cannabis in 3 US states: New York, Virginia, New Mexico]

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