recreational marijuana

The Legalization of Recreational Marijuana in Arizona, New Jersey, South Dakota, and Montana

Known as the “Green Wave,” the movement to legalize recreational marijuana swept four more states in November’s election: Arizona, New Jersey, South Dakota, and Montana.

Joining 11 other states in the nation, these four states are the latest to pass legislation permitting recreational marijuana use by adults. But when does the legislation take effect, and what does it mean for state residents?

Our Oregon cannabis attorney examines the ballot measures in each state, outlining each state’s provisions and what state residents can expect next.  

The Legalization of Recreational Marijuana in Arizona, New Jersey, South Dakota, and Montana: What You Need to Know.

While each state’s measure generally allows for possession and recreational use of marijuana, no two ballot measures are the same, and some factors deserve examination.

Let’s look at some key features of each ballot measure state by state. 


Arizona’s Proposition 207 legalizes the possession and recreational use of marijuana for adults 21 and older. Further, it sets up a licensing system for the retail sale and distribution of the drug. 

  • Adults 21 and over may possess up to one ounce of marijuana.
  • Home cultivation of up to six marijuana plants will be legal for adults as of November 30, 2020.
  • Marijuana dispensaries will fall under a newly established retail licensing system, and recreational pot sales may commence around March 2021.
  • Social equity licenses will be available to communities disenfranchised by marijuana laws.

New Jersey

New Jersey Public Question 1, the Marijuana Legalization Amendment, was passed overwhelmingly on November 3, 2020.  This measure permits the recreational use of marijuana by adults while also legalizing the cultivation, processing, and retail sale of marijuana.  

  • Recreational use of marijuana is now legal for adults 21 and over.
  • A 6.625% state sales tax will be applied to recreational marijuana, with an additional 2% sales tax added by local governments.
  • There are currently no possession limits, retail regulations, or home-grow rules. 
  • Rules regarding the cultivation, processing, and sale of marijuana will be established and regulated by the Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC).
  • This amendment takes effect on January 1, 2021.

South Dakota

By a slim majority, South Dakota’s Constitutional Amendment A passed to legalize recreational and medical marijuana use. However, the new state law won’t take immediate effect. 

  • The amendment legalized the possession, use, transport, and distribution of marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia for people 21 and over. 
  • The State Department of Revenue will oversee licensing distribution. 
  • Local governments may regulate or ban the establishment of licensees within their jurisdictions. 
  • A 15% sales tax will be levied on marijuana sales. 
  • Hemp is excluded under these provisions.
  • This ballot measure will not take effect until July 1, 2021.


Montana residents were presented with two measures, I-190 and CI-118, regarding the legalization of marijuana. Both measures needed to pass to legalize recreational weed, and they did. 

  • Possession and use of marijuana become legal on January 1, 2021.
  • Recreational sales won’t be allowed until January 2022. 
  • Individual counties may prohibit dispensaries.
  • The Montana Department of Revenue will oversee licensing and regulations of marijuana use, cultivation, and sales. 
  • A 20% state tax will be imposed on marijuana sales. 
  • Only adults 21 and over may use or purchase marijuana. 

How an Oregon Cannabis Attorney can Help You

No two states’ recreational marijuana laws are the same. Provisions governing the use, purchase, transportation, and distribution of marijuana can vary greatly from state to state. Different rules affecting everything from advertising and prior marijuana convictions apply. 

If you have questions about how a state’s marijuana laws could affect you, it’s important to speak with an experienced attorney in Cannabis Law.  Contact Attorney Michael R. Hughes today.