Nothing in 2020 has gone according to plan, and cannabis legalization is no exception. According to Vox’s criminal justice and public health reporter German Lopez, at least 18 states were predicted to legalize cannabisto some degree this year, either through their legislatures or via ballot measure. 2020 was supposed to be a big year for cannabis legalization.

And then COVID-19 happened.

Across the country, ballot measure campaigns reliant on gathering signatures were forced to shut down operations due to health concerns and social distancing guidelines. Campaigns in a handful of states aiming to put cannabis legalization on the ballot, including Arkansas, Missouri, and North Dakota, are now on hold for this election cycle, and activists are already gearing up for 2022. In Oklahoma, a combination of both a legal challenge to a proposed adult-use initiative and COVID-19 has made it nearly impossible to gather enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot.

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