Even though 2021 is not an off-year for elections, a few states and cities will see the polls open for various cannabis and psychedelic ballot measures.
For the state of Colorado, citizens will vote on the Learning Enrichment and Academic Progress (LEAP) initiative. This initiative looks to increase the statewide cannabis tax from 15 percent to 20 percent. The additional tax revenue created will go towards low and middle income families as an education stipend per child. These stipends go to families for after-school care, tutoring, and summer learning activities.
Additionally, Denver citizens have their own ballot measure. They will vote on a proposed 1.5 percent increase for the cannabis tax in the state’s capital city in order to help fund pandemic related research. The extra funds would go towards research into “advanced technologies to protect the public from the spread of pandemic pathogens, including at schools, businesses and hospitals.” The studies will also look into “pandemic preparedness and recovery, including urban, economic, and school planning.”
Michigan has become a leader in the U.S. when it comes to psychedelic decriminalization. Most recently, Grand Rapids decriminalized the possession of psychedelics in a city council approved measure. Now, it’s time for Detroit, Michigan’s largest city, to decide if they will also decriminalize the possession and cultivation of psychedelics.
In the state legislature, a bill recently introduced looks to decriminalize psychedelics. However the bill has not been heard in any committee yet. It is unclear if it will make it through the legislature this year, or if it will need to be reintroduced next session in 2022.
22 jurisdictions in Ohio have already decriminalized cannabis possession. Now, 14 more are looking to join their ranks with the upcoming 2021 ballot measures. Those are: Brookside, Cillonvale, Laurelville, Martins Ferry, McArthur, Morristown, Mount Pleasant, Murray City, New Lexington, New Straitsville, Powhatan Point, Rayland, Tiltonsville, and Yorkville.
Not all citizens and organizations have been receptive to these ballot measures. The McArthur Police Department posted on social media discussing how decriminalization would lead the village into a “downhill tumble.” Shortly after publishing, the post was deleted after much backlash from the public and advocates of cannabis decriminalization.
Despite urging from the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and citizens, state lawmakers haven’t moved forward with recreational cannabis legalization until recently. In response to their slow action, Philadelphia citizens will vote on a referendum calling on lawmakers to move legalization efforts forward.
If Philadelphia approves the referendum, it won’t mean immediate changes to the state cannabis rules. Instead, it will add pressure on lawmakers to take up recreational cannabis legalization for all of Pennsylvania.
Virginia doesn’t have any cannabis or psychedelic initiatives on the ballot this year. However, the Governor and all House of Delegate positions are up for election. Activists say they are keeping an eye on Virginia, as Governor Northam legalized cannabis possession earlier this year. However, lawmakers weren’t able to come to a conclusion regarding recreational cannabis sales. It will be up to the 2022 legislature to make those decisions. With all of the House of Delegate seats and the governor’s position up for election, cannabis sales could completely change.
When election results come in, we will be sure to update you on each situation and what the next steps for each state will be.
Make sure to check back for more cannabis, hemp, and psychedelic related news.