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COVID-19 Killed North Dakota’s Marijuana Legalization Dreams


Apr. 6 2020, Updated 11:04 a.m. ET

Right now, marijuana legalization in 2020 doesn’t seem possible for many states due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the pandemic hit, states have taken numerous measures to impose social distancing. Currently, social distancing is the only effective way to contain the spread of the virus. Canceling large public events and gatherings has put a halt on signature gathering for legalization campaigns. Recently, Idaho suspended its marijuana legalization campaign. The state wasn’t able to collect enough signatures. North Dakota might be the next state to cancel its marijuana legalization initiative.

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North Dakota suspends marijuana legalization campaign

Like many other states, North Dakota has struggled to gather signatures amid the coronavirus outbreak. As a result, the state decided to suspend its legalization campaign. A Marijuana Moment article stated that Legalize ND, the group behind the initiative, said that it’s impossible to gather in-person signatures. Also, the state doesn’t allow the group to collect signatures through the mail or online. The group had no choice but to suspend the campaign. The group had to collect 13,452 valid signatures from voters before July 6 to qualify for the November 2020 ballot. However, the group still thinks that it can push through if the quarantine ends sooner.

In December 2019, North Dakota activists submitted a proposal to legalize marijuana for adult use. If successful, the proposal would allow individuals 21 years old and older to possess and purchase cannabis. The group plans to get marijuana legalization on the 2022 ballot. Notably, medical cannabis has been legal in North Dakota since 2016.

Recently, the ICC (Idaho Cannabis Coalition), Idaho’s volunteer group, suspended its proposal for medical cannabis legalization. The group couldn’t collect the required signatures. The pandemic shut down all public gatherings and events.

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However, South Dakota has successfully qualified its medical and recreational cannabis legalization proposals for the ballot. Arizona and Mississipi have also collected enough signatures for the ballot. Meanwhile, Missouri and Nebraska continue to struggle to gather signatures. New York suspended its efforts as well.

Cannabis stocks in April

While legalization efforts are confusing, cannabis sales are still rising during the pandemic. Notably, cannabis is an essential item in Canada and many US states. March was a rollercoaster ride for cannabis stocks. The industry struggled with a cash crunch. Hexo and Cronos Group’s results also impacted the sector. However, marijuana demand and sales during this time benefit cannabis stocks’ performance.

Today at 10:10 AM ET, Aurora Cannabis (NYSE:ACB) stock has risen 1.9%, while Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC)(TSE:WEED) has risen 4.9%. Cronos Group (NASDAQ:CRON) and Hexo (TSE:HEXO) are trading 2.5% and 9.2% higher today. Meanwhile, Aphria and OrganiGram have risen by 8.7% and 7.1%, respectively.

Read What Can You Expect from Marijuana Stocks in April? to learn more about how the stocks performed in March and how April could unfold for the sector.


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