Five US States Join the Green Wave

While most of the world was focused on the United States’ presidential election, and rightfully so, five states in the US legalized marijuana at some level on November 3rd.
Written by 
Kaitlin Domangue, Cannabis Writer.
|Last Updated:
Cannabis 2020 election

New Frontier Data estimates that these five new industries have the potential to add a whopping $9 billion to the American cannabis market. This data also reveals that 71% of Americans now live in a state with either adult-use or medical-use marijuana programs, with just 29% living in states that have no legal market.

Arizona, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota are the five new green states. Interestingly enough, South Dakota passed two programs during this election, both the adult-use and medical marijuana program.


Arizona voted an adult-use cannabis program into place on November 3rd, joining their already existing medical program. Arizona’s Proposition 207 allows for adults aged 21 years and older to possess one ounce of cannabis and no more than five total grams of concentrate. Additionally, this law allows an individual to have up to six cannabis plants in their house.

New Frontier Data expects Arizona to generate $341.5 million in sales during the first year, jumping up significantly by year four – estimated to reach $1 billion in sales over the course of that year. The state attempted to legalize adult use marijuana in 2016, but ultimately failed. Arizona has had medical marijuana since 2010, which made it the fourteenth state to legalize marijuana for medicinal use. The state of Arizona has nearly 280,000 medical cannabis patients today.


Mississippi had the option for two medical marijuana initiatives, voters found both Mississippi Initiative 65 and Alternative 65A on the ballot.

Initiative 65 passed by an overwhelming 74% majority in the southern state. It’s more inclusive than 65A and it allows a greater amount of people to access the medicine they need. Initiative 65 allows people with more than 20 conditions to apply for medical cannabis, while 65A isn’t as inclusive and ends up representing just a small fraction of Mississippians. It is a great thing for the people of Mississippi that 65A didn’t go into effect. Looking at the official documents, the language isn’t clear cut. It leaves a lot of details up for discussion and typically with programs like these, they take much longer to get off the ground. Initiative 65 specifies what consumers and cannabis businesses alike need to know.


Montana has successfully passed adult-use cannabis into law, with Montana I-90. CI-118 was also passed, which effectively changes the state’s constitution to “to “allow the legislature or the people by initiative to establish the legal age for purchasing, consuming, or possessing marijuana,” which I-90 sets as 21 years or older.

I-90 passed in Montana with over half the vote, 56.6% of voters said yes to this initiative. I-90 will bring great revenue to the state of Montana, establishing a 20% tax on nonmedical cannabis. A little over half of the sales tax revenue, 10.5%, will go to the state general fund. The remaining revenue will benefit the Montana communities by going to conservation programs, veterans’ services, healthcare costs, and substance abuse treatment. It is estimated that Montana’s taxes and fees will generate roughly $48 million annually by 2024.

New Jersey

New Jersey has officially legalized cannabis for adult use. The state attempted to legalize in 2018, but ultimately failed. New Jersey Public Question 1 takes effect on January 1st, 2021 and allows adults 21 years or older to purchase cannabis in the state. Question 1 was voted in by a roughly 2 to 1 margin.

It is estimated that New Jersey’s adult-use cannabis program will reach $2 billion in revenue. Question 1 puts a 6.625% sales tax on adult-use cannabis sales. Many of the specific regulations surrounding New Jersey’s recreational program have yet to be determined, but will be established later by the Cannabis Regulatory Commission.

South Dakota

Like we mentioned earlier, South Dakota has legalized marijuana on both levels: for adult use and medicinal use. South Dakota is the first state to do both at the same time, they made history!

Initiated Measure 26 is the initiative to create a medical marijuana program, while Constitutional Amendment A legalizes cannabis for adult use. Measure 26 applies to patients that have “cachexia or wasting syndrome; severe, debilitating pain; severe nausea; seizures; or severe and persistent muscle spasms” caused by “a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment.” This is pretty open language compared to many other medical programs, and therefore allows more people to access the medicine they need.

Constitutional Amendment A taxes cannabis sales at 15%, and further allows qualified individuals to have up to 3 cannabis plants in a private residence if they live in a jurisdiction with no retail outlets. New Frontier Data estimates that South Dakota’s adult-use market will exceed $122 million by year four.

Kaitlin Domangue
Kaitlin Domangue
Cannabis Writer
Kaitlin Domangue is a cannabis copy and content writer. She has worked with dozens of amazing brands and companies to create content that drives traffic, educates consumers, and generates sales. In addition to her work with brands, she is gearing up to begin teaching other people how to be a freelance writer. She specializes in producing articles loaded with scientific evidence. Kaitlin is a wife and mother to three daughters, a Christian, and a medical cannabis patient.

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