Will Cannabis Play A Big Role In The 2020 U.S. Election?

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Cannabis policy in the United States has advanced by leaps and bounds in the last couple of decades. Non-hemp cannabis is still very much illegal at the federal level in the U.S., however, many states have reformed their cannabis laws, including a growing list of states that have legalized cannabis for adult use.

Support has never been greater for national cannabis legalization in the U.S. with the most recent Gallup poll (October 2019) finding that 66% of U.S. voters support adult-use legalization. That is up from 44% in 2010. The times are changing, and they are changing fast.

The 2020 Election in the United States is quickly approaching, and a number of states are likely to vote on adult-use and/or medical cannabis legalization. Below is a recap, taken from an outstanding summary published by our friends at Leafly:

  • *Arizona (adult-use)
  • *Montana (adult-use)
  • Mississippi (medical)
  • *Nebraska (medical)
  • New Jersey (adult-use)
  • South Dakota (medical and adult-use)

The states that have an asterisk by them have seen campaigns turn in enough signatures to make the ballot, however, final verification by state officials is still pending, so in theory, the measures could not actually make the ballot if enough signatures prove to be invalid. Hopefully, all of them will make the ballot.

Regardless, reform is already going to be on the ballot in at least Mississippi, New Jersey, and South Dakota, which is significant. Also, elected officials will be up for re-election in every state, and fresh faces are trying to become elected in November, and every one of them presumably has some stance on cannabis policy for better or worse.

Cannabis policy is a serious topic now in U.S. politics, and the years of expressing support for cannabis reform being considered ‘political suicide’ are long gone. Now, if a candidate is not on the right side of history, they receive significant push back because cannabis is such a popular and mainstream political issue. It can literally make the difference between someone being elected or not.

Studies have found that when cannabis reform is on the ballot it increases voter turnout because voters that normally don’t participate do so in order to vote for cannabis, and that has a butterfly effect on the rest of the election in the jurisdiction.

If cannabis reform actually makes the ballot in every state listed above and voter turnout spikes, it could have a significant impact on local, state, and even federal elections. Even in states where reform isn’t specifically on the ballot, cannabis voters will still have a significant impact on elections via their support of pro-cannabis candidates over anti-cannabis candidates. The cannabis community is a huge voting block now, thankfully.

The 2020 Election is arguably the most significant election in United States history, and all eyes will be on the results in November. All we can do is wait and watch as things develop and see how the dust settles, but it’s a safe bet that cannabis voters are going to heavily influence voting outcomes across the country.

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