Three months after first appearing Wuhan, China, the Coronavirus has left the entire world in a panic. Most of us have never experienced something of such epic proportions, with more than one million people infected and over 60,000 lives lost. Presently, most governments have issued directives to help curb the spread of the virus.
People are directed to stay indoors and only leave when they absolutely have to, and all but the most essential businesses have shut down operations. Unsurprisingly, this hasn’t been easy on the economy, with more than 6 million people filing for unemployment last week, the largest number ever. The lockdown has also affected numerous campaigns to legalize marijuana in various capacities.
In North Dakota, with most people staying indoors to avoid contracting the virus, signature collecting activities have ground to a halt. Due to this situation, activists recently announced that they are suspending their campaign to add marijuana legalization to the November ballot.
A Facebook post by Legalize ND said, “We are going to have to face a few hard realities going forward. Due to the virus all of our major avenues for signature collection have been postponed, and going door to door is not safe for both those knocking and those whose doors are being knocked on.”
Unlike states like Idaho that allow some form of online signature collection, North Dakota doesn’t have a provision for signature collection through the mail or online. According to Legalize ND, they needed to collect 13,433 valid signatures from voters before July 6. However, with the current situation, the campaign will have to shift its focus to the 2022 primary election.
“Businesses will continue to collect, but we don’t want to create another vector for the Coronavirus. As a result, at this time if something major doesn’t change we will not be able to make the 2020 ballot,” said the post.
Legalize ND’s proposed initiative would have allowed individuals to purchase and possess up to two ounces of cannabis. It would impose a 10% excise tax and establish a regulatory body to approve licenses for marijuana businesses. However, unlike a previous version of the initiative that voters rejected, this version would prohibit home growing.
North Dakota isn’t the only state whose drug legalization initiatives have taken a backseat. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently said that legalization wouldn’t happen through the budget as he had hoped. In California, activists for campaigns to amend the legal cannabis program have asked for a digital signage option.
Analysts are certain that the news of yet another cancelled legalization campaign is likely to be a disappointment to sector players like Sugarmade Inc. (OTCQB: SGMD) who are yearning for some good news amidst the rampaging COVID-19 pandemic.
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