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The marijuana vote is going to be crucial at the 2020 elections: 22 percent of Americans regularly use marijuana. Many of these people will be voting.

cannabis federal regulation

Which will be the next states to legalize weed? Will weed ever be legalized federally? These are the issues facing millions of Americans who find their drug of choice makes them federal criminals.

Access to marijuana means more than just getting high. Veterans who use marijuana to help their PTSD are worried. Those who use it to reduce the pain of chemotherapy, or to ease anxiety, are worried. 

Ready to learn how the marijuana vote is going to affect the outcome of this election? Want to know what marijuana’s legality will look like in the coming years? Then read on.

Which Will Be the Next States to Legalize Weed?

There are now 11 states that have legalized weed for recreational use. D.C. has also legalized pot. Most recently, Illinois legalized marijuana.

The new law will go into effect by New Year’s Day, and allow adults to possess up to 30 grams of pot. It looks likely that there will be a marijuana vote in several other states in 2020. These are our picks for the next states to legalize weed.

New York

It looked as though New York would legalize weed in 2019. However, it got stuck in a political quagmire. A majority of New Yorkers support legal weed, so it seems likely that 2020 will feature a proposition on the ballot.

New York is a much-visited destination for both Americans and foreign tourists. If they were to legalize marijuana, the legal pot market would be massive.

New Jersey

Across the water from New York, marijuana legalization is going to be on the ballot in the Garden State. In this fairly liberal state, we would put money on the ballot passing. 

If New York doesn’t legalize, then we bet a lot of people will be crossing to this neighboring state for their weed.


Arizona currently has two different initiatives battling it out to end up on the ballot. One would see a 16 percent excise tax on marijuana. For reference, Colorado has an excise tax of 15 percent. 

New Mexico

It looks likely that the New Mexico state legislature could pass a legalization bill in 2020. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has set up an advisory group to investigate the possibility of legalization for adult recreational use.


Ohio marijuana legalization has been a tumultuous journey. The state was to vote on legalization in 2019, but as in the eastern states, this was delayed.

It’s also something of an outlier among states. The Buckeye State voted against legalization in 2015. The bill would have given 10 grow farms a stranglehold on the state’s market, so the details of the proposition will be significant in 2020.


Despite this state’s conservative outlook, medical marijuana has been a huge success in Florida. It looked, for a long time, like this vote would be on the ballot in 2020. However, the deadline was missed.

The group Make It Legal Florida is now hoping to get it on the 2022 ballot.

Will Weed Ever Be Legalized Federally?

There will still be huge issues unless marijuana is legalized on a federal level. Marijuana dispensaries are being raided, patients can’t take their medication across state lines, and it’s a huge legislative mess.

What are the parties’ stances on federal marijuana legalization?

Democratic Party

Joe Biden has a bad record on drugs. Back in the 1980s, he supported the war on drugs and mass incarceration. Today, he still believes that marijuana is a gateway drug.

Other Democrat frontrunners have more progressive stances on pot. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have both sponsored a senate proposal to make marijuana legal and expunge criminal records.

Sanders also supported legalization in his 2016 run. Today, he argues that not only should it be legalized and records expunged, but the money from pot should be reinvested in communities most affected by The War on Drugs.

Warren has argued not only for the legalization of weed but the lifting of banking restrictions on marijuana businesses. This would make getting a start in this growing industry far easier than it is now.

Republican Party

One would not expect a push for marijuana legalization to come from President Trump. Under Trump’s administration, Jeff Sessions rescinded Obama-era memos that attempted to stop federal authorities from interfering in state’s rights to legalize marijuana and allow marijuana businesses.

Trump has previously argued that states should have the right to decide the law for themselves. If he were to support legalization, he would gain crucial support from young voters.

The marijuana vote would also be important to farmers. The trade war has had a huge impact on America’s farms, and offering a new cash crop could win them back.

However, this could also hurt Trump’s more conservative supporters, and lose him votes. It’s a balancing act for the incumbent President.

Why the Marijuana Vote Matters

Marijuana is a critically important issue in the 2020 polls. The Democratic candidates are tearing each other to pieces over their records. Meanwhile, the other side of the political spectrum remains split between neoconservatives and libertarians.

Two-thirds of Americans support legalization. While for many, this is not as important an issue as defense or immigration, it could be enough to swing votes. It will be particularly important to swing voters, who make up around seven percent of the electorate.

It’s also an important issue when considering the impact the United States has on the world at large.

The War on Drugs has a death toll numbering in the hundreds of thousands, if not more. Legalizing marijuana will not end The War on Drugs, but it will go a long way towards alleviating it. 

Final Thoughts

We’re not going to tell you how to vote. That is a matter for your judgment and conscience. However, we’d urge you to stay up to date with the latest news regarding marijuana legalization in your state and candidates’ stances.

If marijuana legalization is a significant issue for you, then the Democratic candidates will likely have more to offer. However, given the Republicans’ somewhat guarded stance on the issue, this could change.

If you’re in one of the states we discussed earlier, then keep your eyes peeled. News on a potential marijuana vote will emerge in the coming months.

If you want to stay up to date on the latest marijuana news, take a look at our blog. Got any questions, feedback, or comments for us? Get in touch with us and we’ll do our best to answer.

Michael Mayes

About Michael Mayes

Michael Mayes is the founder and CEO of Quantum 9, Inc., a Chicago, IL-based cannabis consulting firm. We specialize in getting high net worth individuals and private equity cannabis business licenses to cultivate, manufacture and dispense marijuana. We have over 50 marijuana consultants that work for the company, and we have practiced in 12 countries. Our areas of expertise include permit acquisition, team building, employee training planning, and process planning. We help clients fully maximize the potential of any cannabis cultivation, processing, and dispensary business.

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