Excerpted from Roll Call by Emily Kopp

Marijuana legalization advocates, afraid that efforts to win ballot initiatives would go up in smoke given the challenges of a pandemic, are fired up about chances in five states this fall.

The difficulty of safely getting signatures in person helped doom marijuana legalization efforts in some states, like Idaho and Missouri. But voters will decide next month whether to legalize recreational marijuana in four states, only one of which is reliably Democratic: Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota. Mississippi will also consider a pair of ballot initiatives to legalize medical marijuana.

Despite COVID-19 risks, advocates managed to collect more than 661,000 signatures in four of those states in the 2020 election cycle to put the questions on the ballot. Some began before the pandemic hit, while advocates with later deadlines added protective steps like using individual plastic-wrapped pens.
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