Every 2020 Cannabis Ballot Measure Passed. Full Sweep.

Soft Secrets
11 Nov 2020

In the middle of a real nailbiter of the presidential and congressional race, potheads and weed activists across the country were given a major boost as the cannabis ballot measure swept across the board in the November 3 election.  

Marijuana advocates may feel a step closer to ending the federal prohibition of cannabis, as voters in four states including Montana, New Jersey, South Dakota and Arizona approved the legalization of recreational use of marijuana statewide. Mississippi and South Dakota voters greenlit the legalization of medicinal cannabis.

Conservative South Dakota became the first state to approve both recreational and medicinal cannabis during the same election.  During the elections, Oregon made extra steps to drug legislation, becoming the first state to broadly decriminalize drug possession and legalize psilocybin mushrooms for therapy. At the same time, Washington, D.C. approved a measure to decriminalize psychedelics.

The November 3 elections could have had more cannabis ballot measures, failing to surpass 2016 when nine states legalized cannabis for medical or adult-use.

As of November this year, eleven states and Washington D.C had legalized weed for recreational use for adults above 21, two through state legislative process and nine through citizen-initiated ballot measures. Also, 33 states and Washington D.C. had approved laws decriminalizing or legalizing medical cannabis. 

Oklahoma was one of the states to miserably fail to gather enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot, due to a legal challenge to the proposed adult-use initiative. While the current outcome is a significant boost, this election cycle was supposed to include a handful of other states including Missouri, North Dakota, and Arkansas with initial plans to put cannabis legalization on the election ballot, but were forced to postpone the measure for this election cycle due to the pandemic. Legal weed in New York was also supposed to be on the November ballot, but the virus forced the state to postpone the legalization of cannabis for adult recreational use for the next year.

Here is a quick overview of what was approved on Election Day:


Four years after Arizona voters rejected a similar measure, they approved the initiative to legalize cannabis for recreational use for adults over 21. Under the new measure, Arizona residents above the age of 21, will be allowed to own up to an ounce of cannabis and cultivate up to six plants for personal use. 


Cannabis advocates were able to overcome a number of obstacles to qualify for their now approved medical cannabis legalization measure. The new law allows patients with medical issues to obtain cannabis with a doctor's recommendation. Patients with qualifying conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic pain, and cancer will be allowed to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana per 14-day period.

The elections still showed that regardless of what their political ideology might be, Americans are willing to abandon prohibitionism when it comes to drugs use and possession.


The traditionally Republican state gave the go-ahead to the measure to legalize recreational marijuana for adult use and passed a separate constitutional amendment saying that adults over 21 can participate in the cannabis market.

New Jersey

Voters in the Garden State, almost unanimously approved the law to legalize recreational cannabis for adults over 21. In order to set up rules and regulations for the program, a legislature has to pass enabling. But according to a top lawmaker a bill that will help accomplish that might be introduced as early as Thursday.

South Dakota

South Dakota made a drastic change Tuesday, becoming the first state in the nation to go from rigid prohibitionists to legalizing both recreational and medical cannabis. The historic moment did not go unnoticed on social media, with people being dazzled how the Mount Rushmore state could pass marijuana laws before some other states (you name it).  South Dakota native Dianna Anderson, 34, an author from Minneapolis for instance tweeted “god help me if south dakota legalizes marijuana tonight and minnesota hasn’t?” In a subsequent message to The Associated Press Anderson noted that South Dakota’s “very strong libertarian streak” made it less surprising than it might appear to the rest of the country. According to the recreational measure, adults over 21 are allowed to possess and distribute up to one ounce of weed and will also be able to cultivate up to three marijuana plants. The medical marijuana measure will make modifications to enable patients suffering from a debilitating condition to own and purchase up to three-ounce of cannabis from a dispensary. The reforms passed decisively, showing that regardless of the political ideology, Americans are ready to abandon the country's prohibitionist approach to drugs. 

Soft Secrets