Election 2020 – Cannabis Emerges a Big Winner, Signaling an End to the War on Drugs 

Election 2020 – Cannabis Emerges a Big Winner, Signaling an End to the War on Drugs

On November 3rd, the US experienced an historic US election by all accounts – a record number of Americans voted, both in person and by absentee ballot. We voted for government leadership, state leadership, and on state and local initiatives. What emerged a big winner in different parts of the country? Cannabis. Five states had cannabis initiatives on their ballots – Arizona, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota – the most in any election cycle, and all of them passed. Cannabis is now legal for medical use in 36 states and adult recreational use in 15 states. After the election, New Frontier Data projected that with these five states entering and increasing the marketplace, the regulated U.S. cannabis market will hit $38.3 billion by 2025. Here’s a state-by-state rundown of the legislation that was proposed and passed.  


  • Legal Recreational Adult Use 
  • Legal Medicinal Use 

Adult recreational use of cannabis will be legal in Arizona, as a majority of voters approved Prop 207. This proposition allows adults 21 and older to possess, consume or transfer up to one ounce of cannabis and create a regulatory system for the cannabis cultivation and sale. Arizona’s Department of Health Services will be tasked with licensing and regulating all cannabis businesses, from growers to retailers. A 16% excise tax will be levied on sales. The money generated from licensing and renewal fees, application fees, civil penalties, excise taxes and penalties related to selling and testing cannabis will be deposited in the smart and safe Arizona fund. Monies in this fund will first be used to pay for the costs of implementing, administering and enforcing the measure. If monies remain in the fund after getting the measure off the ground, they would be distributed to community college districts and provisional community colleges, municipal police and fire departments, fire districts and county sheriffs’ departments, the Arizona highway user revenue fund and various “justice reinvestment programs.” Another important aspect of the proposition is that people with cannabis-related criminal records can petition to have the charges expunged.  


  • Legal Medicinal Use 

Mississippi voters were asked to weigh in Ballot Measure 1, featuring two versions of an amendment regarding the use of medicinal cannabis. Voters could approve Initiative 65 or Initiative 65A or vote against both. Initiative 65, which was approved by an overwhelming 73% of voters, will allow physicians to recommend medical cannabis for patients with any of 22 qualifying conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Patients will be allowed to possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis per two-week period. The constitutional amendment will establish a regulatory program overseen by the Mississippi Department of Health for businesses to grow and sell medical cannabis and for the products to be taxed at a 7% rate. Regulations for the program must be developed by July 1, 2021, and medical cannabis patient cards must be issued by August 15, 2021. Initiative 65A would have limited the smoking of medical cannabis to people who are terminally ill and would have left the regulatory framework up to the Legislature. This initiative did not pass  


  • Legal Adult Recreational Use 
  • Legal Medicinal Use 

Montana voters had two cannabis initiatives on their ballots to consider this fall, and both were approved. Prior to the vote in October, Montana State University released results of a poll on Montanans’ stance on cannabis; among active and likely voters, 49% supported legalization and 39% opposed it. The first initiative was Initiative 118, which amends the state’s constitution to establish 21 as the legal age to purchase, possess, and consume cannabis. The secondInitiative 190, allows adults in the state to possess and buy cannabis for recreational use. The state Department of Revenue will oversee the set up and regulation of a commercial system for growing and selling cannabis and will impose a 20% tax on sales. Half of the revenue generated from sales will go toward environmental conservation programs, and the remaining revenue toward veteran services, drug treatment, health care and local governments, and the general fund. It would also allow people convicted of past cannabis-related crimes to apply for regu or records expungement. Opponents of the law have filed a lawsuit to have the legalization vote overturned on the grounds that the initiative is unconstitutional.   

New Jersey 

  • Legal Adult Recreational Use 
  • Legal Medicinal Use 

New Jersey voters approved Public Question #1 on their ballots, which asked: “Do you approve amending the Constitution to legalize a controlled form of marijuana called ‘cannabis’?” This amends the state constitution to legalize cannabis for personal, non-medical use by adults 21 and older. The Cannabis Regulatory Commission that oversees the medical market will also regulate the personal market, including production and sales.  This week, a New Jersey Senate and Assembly committee approved identical bills to implement marijuana regulations following approval of Public Question #1. Members of the Senate panel also merged two bills to decriminalize cannabis in the short term, which also passed. The state Attorney General is also being called on to issue a directive to end prosecutions for low-level marijuana offenses.  

South Dakota 

  • Legal Adult Recreational Use 
  • Legal Medicinal Use 

South Dakota voters had two cannabis decisregulations to make – one on medical use and one on recreational use – and both passed. Measure 26 establishes a medical cannabis program and registration system for people with qualifying chronic, debilitating conditions and diseases such as severe pain, nausea, and seizures. Patients will be allowed to purchase and possess up to three ounces of cannabis from a licensed dispensary.  Amendment A legalizes the possession, transportation, and distribution up to one ounce of cannabis for all adults over 21 years old and require state legislators to adopt medical cannabis and hemp laws by April 1, 2022. Voter-approved cannabis will become law on July 1, 2021.  

2021 and Beyond 

 The support for cannabis legislation that voters have shown in this election cycle bodes well for other states legalizing medicinal and/or recreational use in the next few years. New York had the legalization of cannabis in its sights earlier this year, but once COVID struck, state lawmakers moved that conversation to the backburner to respond to health crisis and the subsequent economic falloutNow that New Jersey has approved recreational cannabis use, it seems highly likely that New York legislators will take up the topic of legalization in 2021knowing the revenue that can be generated with cannabis sales. This winter, New Mexico legislators will reconsider decriminalizing cannabis for recreational use. Earlier this year, a bill backed by State Representative Javier Martinez died in their Senate Judiciary committee. Martinez believes that legalization and regulation of cannabis not only presents a huge opportunity for job creation and revenue generation, but it would also reduce harm that criminalization brings to its youth and people of color. Support for legalization is also building in Texas; State Representative from San Antonio, Roland Gutierrez, is proposing a legalization bill. He believes that cannabis could create upwards of 30,000 new jobs and bring in over $3 billion in revenue. 

According to the Pew Research Center, two-thirds of the American public support federal legalization of cannabis – and the most recent approval of these state initiatives and ballot measures further validates this wave of public support and approval of cannabis. When it comes to how cannabis use is perceived by the public, there is no denying that the tide has turned in this country. State by state, the green wave continues to roll across the country – it just seems to be a matter of time before federal legalization becomes a reality.  

COVID-19 & CBD: A Look Back at March

COVID-19 & Medical Cannabis Patients: What You Need to Know

We can all agree that March has been a hard month for so many reasons — reasons we can’t explain to our friends, family, coworkers, or clients. 

While it’s easy to focus on all the negatives that have come with the COVID-19 crisis, we need to focus on the positives to help us get through it. People are making a point to connect with one another, whether it’s over the phone, via Facetime or through Zoom. Teachers are getting creative as they teach their students remotely, many restaurants have shifted to their menus to take-out, people are making masks for healthcare workers, musicians are livestreaming performances and DJs are hosting virtual dance parties. 

In many ways, the virus that has pushed people physically apart has brought us closer together.  

Cannabis as an Essential Business 

COIVD-19 has also forced government officials to think about what businesses are essential, and which aren’t. Something that is essential is “absolutely necessary” or “extremely important.” Grocery store – essential. Hair salon – non-essential. Gas station – essential. Clothing store – non-essential. Cannabis dispensary – essential. 

When San Francisco Mayor London Breed first announced the city would begin its shelter in place order on March 16 that would begin the next day at 12AM, the city had designated cannabis dispensaries as non-essential businesses, and they would have to close that evening until the order was lifted. 24 hours later, her position had changed; the Department of Public Health announced the decision had been reversed, acknowledging that cannabis dispensaries are essential. 

In a tweet on March 17th, the Department of Public Health stated, Cannabis is an essential medicine for many San Francisco residents. Dispensaries can continue to operate as essential businesses during this time, while practicing social distancing and other public health recommendations.” 


In all of the states where cannabis is recreationally legal, dispensaries remain open. Many have had to shift the way they do business – such as offering online ordering, curbside pickup, and delivery services, or limiting the number of people who can enter a dispensary at one time. Most states where cannabis is medicinally legal have made allowances as well – ensuring that medical card holders will have continued access to what they need. 


The fact that cannabis dispensaries, which carry many different types of products – CBD, THC, CBN and alike – have been granted this designation of “essential business” is an indicator of how public interest in cannabinoids has grown in the past few years and how people are more accepting of the cannabis plant in general. Last year we saw public interest in CBD explode, followed by huge growth in the CBD marketplace, which led to oversaturation. Currently, there has been a spike in e-commerce CBD sales. After conducting a survey recently, the Brightfield Group reported that 4 in 10 CBD users planned to use CBD more frequently because of the virus. They also stated that 49% of Millennials and Gen Z consumers plan on using more CBD in the weeks and months to come. During a health crisis such as this one, people are more inclined to practice self-care for their mental and physical wellbeing – and for many, CBD and other cannabinoids are part of their daily healthcare routines.  

Increased Demand and Increased Safety Protocols 

There is no doubt that in the past two weeks, we’ve seen an increase in demand for cannabis products – both CBD and THC. Dispensaries in cities like Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Denver have had a steady stream of customers in their businesses – while also being extremely diligent about people keeping a safe distance apart and only letting in a certain number of customers at a time. Dispensaries have also been creative in how best to serve their customers, including offering curbside delivery to cars pulling up outside their businesses. This not only means that sales are up in dispensaries, but for the growers and product producers supplying the dispensaries. One of our THC partnersGreenMedLabs in Washington State, which produces cannabis beverages, has seen their orders triple in the past two weeks, while online orders for Mad Tasty, a CBD sparkling beverage powered by SōRSE, are up 40% since March 7th. 

Cannabis dispensaries being deemed essential businesses was and still is big news, especially for those who have been using cannabis for years and understand the benefits the plant has to offer. Those people have not been afraid to express themselves to government officials over the past few weeks, to say, “I need this. It is essential for my health, for my well-being. And my well-being matters.” 

SōRSE — Here to Help 

At SōRSE, the quality and safety of our products has always been our highest priority. As we continue essential operations through the COIVD crisis, we can confidently rely on the measures we established to ensure product safety. The processes, practices, and protocols in our Quality Management System are all the more relevant now, and we are confident that they meet or exceed all current published guidelines. Nonetheless, we added additional steps to ensure the safety of our employees and products.  


When news of the virus first broke, the management team asked that all personnel not directly involved in production work from home and take all CDC recommended precautions to stay safe. We instituted additional cleaning and disinfection of high touch surfaces, and our co-mans have done the same.  If any employee or their family member shows symptoms of COIVD-19 or any other illness, we require them to self-quarantine for 14 days. We are relieved to report that at this time, our team remains healthy and symptom-free. 


It appears that we are in for another month of social distancing to flatten the curve of the spread of the virus. While we know that this situation is difficult on many levels for so many people, we want to remain positive, continue to help our customers, and keep each other’s spirits up. Next month, April, is just around the bend. It’s a time when we can make all 30 days a literal 4/20. We’ll still celebrate the cannabis plant, our essential need, and all it has to offer. We will just have to do it inside and from afar. 


We know that this situation is impacting our partners in different ways. If you have questions that need answers, we’re here to help.