Marijuana legalization efforts seem to be struggling in the US amid the coronavirus outbreak. In 2020, many US states planned to put legalization proposals on the November ballot. However, many states have canceled public gatherings and large events amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Malls, stores, and other public places have shut down. As a result, marijuana activists struggle to gather signatures for their campaigns. Idaho has suspended its marijuana legalization campaign amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Idaho suspends marijuana legalization
Medical and recreational marijuana are both illegal in Idaho. The state planned to put medical marijuana legalization on the November 2020 ballot. A volunteer group called the ICC (Idaho Cannabis Coalition) submitted the proposal for medical cannabis legalization in the state. In August, Idaho officials gave the group permission to collect signatures to qualify for the ballot.
However, medical marijuana legalization won’t happen in Idaho in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Since many states are locked down, ICC couldn’t gather the required signatures. A Marijuana Moment article discussed that the group had to collect 55,057 signatures by May 1 to qualify. So far, the group has collected 40,000 signatures. Although the difference isn’t substantial, the lockdown makes it difficult to obtain the signatures before the deadline. No one knows when the lockdown will end. Also, the group had to collect signatures from 6% of registered voters from a majority of legislative districts. Now, the group plans to put the legalization initiative on the 2022 ballot.
What’s happening in other states?
Like Idaho, New York’s legalization plan also failed. The state decided that handling the pandemic has to be its main priority. On Thursday, I discussed how New York Governor Andrew Cuomo thinks that marijuana legalization is a complicated issue. He thinks that legalization might need more time. To learn more, read Marijuana Legalization Won’t Happen in New York in 2020.
Meanwhile, South Dakota has successfully qualified its medical and recreational cannabis legalization proposals for the ballot. Arizona and Mississipi also have collected the required signatures for the ballot, while Missouri continues to struggle.
Marijuana sales are still rising along with marijuana stocks’ performance. Hexo (TSE:HEXO) and Cronos Group’s (NASDAQ:CRON) earnings results impacted the stocks and the sector for a while. However, cannabis stocks are trading in the green again due to the huge demand for cannabis amid the pandemic. Marijuana has drawn interest from lawmakers in many states. Cannabis is considered to be an essential item in many states, which could impact the legalization decision. Hexo closed with a gain of 5.3%, while Cronos Group gained 3.4% on Thursday. Meanwhile, Aurora Cannabis (NYSE:ACB), Canopy Growth, and Aphria (NYSE:APHA) gained 3.05%, 1.6%, and 1.0% yesterday.