The marijuana industry is pouring millions of dollars into five states, pushing measures that would legalize marijuana. Arizona, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota all have marijuana initiatives on the ballot; four would legalize recreational marijuana, while two would legalize medical marijuana.
Legalized pot is bad news for individuals, families and communities. Today’s marijuana is not the same as what the “flower children” smoked 50 years ago. It’s much more potent and dangerous. Pot edibles, vaping oils, and smoked marijuana contain much higher concentrations of THC – the psychoactive compound in cannabis.
States that have legalized marijuana have already seen the harms, including:
- More youth and young adults using the drug: Colorado, one of the first states to legalize the drug, holds the top ranking in the country for first-time marijuana use among youth ages 12 and up.
- Increased driving under the influence and more accidents: Marijuana use impairs driving in a number of ways, slowing reaction time, decreasing coordination, and impairing judgment of time and distance.
- Commercialized marijuana increases emergency room visits and deaths – especially in children and youth. Marijuana use can lead to depression, suicidality and other mental health issues.
- Increased state spending: Those pushing marijuana promise that money will come pouring into state coffers, but Colorado spends $4.50 to mitigate the effects of legalization for every $1.00 in marijuana tax revenue.
Medical marijuana creates problems for children and youth, public safety, and business productivity. South Dakota’s medical marijuana bill has the drug handed out by marijuana dispensaries, not licensed pharmacies, creating a system at risk for fraud and abuse.
Here’s what’s on the ballot in each state, along with links for where you can find more information on this important issue.
Proposition 207, the Marijuana Legalization Initiative, legalizes the recreational possession and use of marijuana. The Center for Arizona Policy (CAP), a Focus on the Family-allied organization, explains that the 17-page initiative is backed by the marijuana industry, which has already spent more than five million dollars to mislead voters. CAP has information about the harms of recreational marijuana and is part of the Arizonans for Health and Public Safety, a coalition working to defeat the measure.
Initiative 65 and Alternative 65A, a Medical Marijuana Amendment, would amend the Mississippi Constitution to allow medical marijuana for individuals with a debilitating medical condition. Voters first choose “either” or “neither” for both amendments. Then they vote for which one of the amendments they prefer. Measure 65 lists qualifying medical conditions, a tax rate of 7% and possession limits. 65A does not specify any of these. Marijuana supporters have already spent almost five million dollars supporting Initiative 65.
Voters in Montana have two ballot measures that would legalize recreational marijuana. CI-118 would amend the state’s constitution to allow the legislature or the state’s voters to establish a legal age for purchasing, consuming or possessing marijuana. The Marijuana Legalization and Tax Initiative, I-190, would legalize the possession and use of marijuana for adults over the age of 21, impose a 20% tax on marijuana sales, require the Department of Revenue to develop rules to regulate marijuana businesses, and allow for the resentencing or expungement of marijuana-related crimes.
The Montana Family Foundation, a Focus-affiliated organization, is part of a grassroots coalition fighting marijuana legalization. That group, Wrong for Montana, has videos, talking points and research about the harms from commercialized marijuana.
Public Question 1, Marijuana Legalization Amendment , would amend New Jersey’s Constitution to legalizes the possession and use of marijuana for individuals 21 and older. The initiative also legalizes the cultivation, processing, and sale of retail marijuana. Supporters have said the amendment would “strengthen public health and safety” and “foster economic development.”
The Family Policy Alliance of New Jersey, along with medical and law enforcement groups, explains that this is not true. They’re working with two coalitions fighting marijuana legalization. New Jerseyans Against Legalizing Marijuana and Don’t Let NJ Go To Pot have videos, talking points and research about the harms from commercialized marijuana.
South Dakota is the first state to have both recreational and medical marijuana during the same election. Initiated Measure 26 would establish a medical marijuana program for individuals with a debilitating medical condition. Constitutional Amendment A legalizes recreational marijuana. It also requires the legislature to pass laws providing for the use of medical marijuana and the sale of hemp.
The Family Heritage Alliance, a Focus on the Family-allied organization, is working against marijuana legalization in South Dakota. The group has posted an informative webinar on the two ballot measures. No Need for Weed in South Dakota and NO Way on Amendment A also have information on what’s wrong with legalizing medical and commercial marijuana.
Related articles and resources:
Contact Your State Policy Group
The Ballot Initiatives of 2020
Life? Mushrooms? Sex Ed? What’s on the Ballot in Your State?
Marriage Amendment? Embryonic Stem Cell Research? Here’s What May be on Your State’s Ballot
Montana Coalition Pushes Back Against Legalized Marijuana
Washington State Parents Collect Record Number of Signatures to Repeal Sex Education Legislation
Photo from Shutterstock
Visit our Election 2020 page