Michigan Becomes 10th State To Legalize Recreational Marijuana
More states legalized cannabis in yesterday’s midterm elections with Michigan becoming the latest one to legalize adult-use cannabis. Missouri and Utah approved medical cannabis, while North Dakota said no to adult use cannabis. A flurry of places voted to decriminalize cannabis in varying degrees as well.
Michigan is now the 10th state to legalize cannabis possession for adults 21 and older, and it is the ninth state to create a program for regulating commercial cultivation and sales for adult use.
Voters passed a ballot initiative to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana for adult use through the measure known as Proposal 1. Prop 1 was leading 58-42 with 54 percent of precincts reporting when CNN called the election.
“This is yet another historic election for the movement to end marijuana prohibition,” said Steve Hawkins of the Marijuana Policy Project. “Voters have once again sent a message loud and clear that it is time to legalize and regulate marijuana. The victory in Michigan highlights just how widespread support is for marijuana policy reform. This issue does not only enjoy strong support on the coasts but also in the Midwest and all throughout the country.”
MPP noted that Missouri is now the 31st state in the nation to pass medical marijuana laws. The measure was leading 64-36 with 49 percent of precincts reporting when The New York Times called the election.
Matthew Schweich, deputy director of the Marijuana Policy Project said, “Thanks to the unflagging efforts of patients and advocates, Missourians who could benefit from medical marijuana will soon be able to use it without fear of being treated like criminals. We hope lawmakers will implement the measure efficiently and effectively to ensure qualified patients can gain access to their medicine as soon as possible.
Utah’s medical cannabis ballot measure was leading by a margin of 53 percent to 47 percent yesterday when news affiliates called the outcome a winner. MPP said that last month, backers of Proposition 2 reached an agreement with opponent organizations, legislative leaders, and the governor to support an alternative medical cannabis law that will be enacted in an upcoming special session, regardless of the outcome of the election.
North Dakota voted down adult-use cannabis with 59% against it versus 41% in favor. The legislation was pretty broad with no limits on cultivation or possession. It would also automatically expunge previous cannabis convictions.
Representative Pete Sessions from Texas who had been instrumental in blocking cannabis legislation from votes in Congress was defeated. Sessions chaired the House Rules Committee. He lost to a former NFL player and civil rights attorney Colin Allred.
California’s Dana Rohrabacher has been a long-time legalization supporter, but he potentially lost as well. Rohrabacher was an early supporter of changing laws on cannabis, long before it was popular. However, Rohrabacher’s close association with Russia and President Trump caused many to turn on him. Democrat Harley Rouda appears to have won, but late mail-in ballots haven’t been counted and the candidates weren’t declaring a victory yet.
Colorado voters approved a proposal to change the definition of help and Wisconsin voters approved several nonbinding cannabis questions on the ballot. Several counties indicated positive responses to various questions about legalization. These positive votes could motivate legislators to pass laws in favor of legalization.
Ohio voters moved to decriminalize cannabis in several cities. Dayton, Fremont, Norwood, Oregon, and Windham all passed measures lowering penalties. Garrettsville was the only city that rejected the local measure. While it doesn’t change the state law for punishment, it does help people in those local towns.
While it isn’t decriminalizing cannabis convictions, Florida voters did approve an amendment to restore voting rights to people with felony convictions.