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New Jersey, Arizona, Montana, And South Dakota Voted To Legalize Recreational Cannabis

Washington, DC, also voted to decriminalize the use of psychedelic substances.

Last updated on November 4, 2020, at 3:06 a.m. ET

Posted on November 4, 2020, at 12:27 a.m. ET

Julio Cortez / AP

An employee at a medical cannabis dispensary trims plants in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey.

Residents of New Jersey, Arizona, Montana, and South Dakota voted to legalize recreational use of cannabis on Tuesday.

“We did it, New Jersey!” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy tweeted. “Public Question #1 to legalize adult-use marijuana passed overwhelmingly tonight, a huge step forward for racial and social justice and our economy."

The amendment to the state constitution was expected to pass, with polls showing nearly 60% of New Jersey voters in support, according to NJ.com. Now it’s up to the state legislature and Cannabis Regulatory Commission to implement tax rules for cannabis sales and other details.

We did it, New Jersey! Public Question #1 to legalize adult-use marijuana passed overwhelmingly tonight, a huge step forward for racial and social justice and our economy. Thank you to @NJCAN2020 and all the advocates for standing on the right side of history.

In Arizona, the new measure also allows people with past cannabis convictions to petition the courts for expungements through restorative justice provisions.

“Until now, Arizona had imposed some of the strictest prohibition laws in the country; in some instances, the possession of even small amounts of marijuana was classified as a felony,” Erik Altieri, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, told Marijuana Moment. “By rejecting this failed policy, no Arizonan going forward will be saddled with a criminal conviction for engaging in the personal possession or cultivation of cannabis, or face the lifelong stigma that comes with it.”

South Dakota and Montana also passed both recreational and medical cannabis initiatives.

The District of Columbia and 11 other states had already legalized recreational cannabis. With New Jersey joining their ranks, there’s pressure on nearby states like Pennsylvania and New York to follow suit.

In DC, people also voted in favor of decriminalizing the use of psychedelic substances, including psilocybin mushrooms, joining the ranks of other cities, including Ann Arbor, Michigan; Denver; Oakland; and Santa Cruz.

“We have changed the game here. We have shifted this dialogue,” Melissa Lavasani, a DC government employee who uses microdoses of psilocybin mushrooms to help her postpartum depression, told the Washington Post. “We are trying to normalize mental health.”

In Oregon, voters also went to the polls to decide whether to decriminalize all drugs, including cocaine and heroin.

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