States that have already legalized medical and/or adult-use cannabis have taken two avenues: legislative action or voter-approved ballot measures. Specifically, the first eight states to legalize adult-use cannabis did so through citizen-led petitions that put a question, measure, or amendment before their voters on Election Day. Washington, D.C., was also in that boat via Initiative 71 in November 2014. It wasn’t until January 2018 that Vermont became the first state to legalize adult-use cannabis through a legislature, which became official when Republican Gov. Phil Scott signed House Bill 511 (Act 86) into law. Since then, five more states have legalized adult-use cannabis through their legislatures (Illinois, Connecticut, New Mexico, New York, and Virginia) and four more have legalized adult-use cannabis through the election process (Michigan, Arizona, Montana, and New Jersey). Many more states have legalized medical programs, with Mississippi becoming the 37th state to do so without imposing strict restrictions, such as low-THC limits. And Mississippi has ridden both avenues to legalization: The voters passed an initiative in the November 2020 election, the state’s Supreme Court overturned it in May 2021, and state lawmakers passed legislation with bicameral veto-proof majorities in January 2022.
Cbt Staff, Cannabis Business Times, 02/04/2022 07:55:00