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Marijuana Legalization Initiatives Pass in Michigan, Missouri and Utah; Fails in North Dakota


Three out of four ain’t bad. In the midterm elections yesterday, Michigan became the 10th state to legalize marijuana and the first ever in the Midwest and Missouri and Utah joined 30 other states with medical cannabis. The one bummer was in North Dakota, where voters decided to keep recreational use illegal.

Michigan’s Prop 1 allow adults to possess up to 2.5 ounces of flower and 15 grams of concentrate as well as grow up to 12 plants. The proposed tax rate is 10%. It passed with 57% of the vote.

Despite competing measures on the Missouri ballot, voters backed Amendment 2, which lets patients possess up to four ounces and grow six plants. It calls for a modest 4% tax rate and covers conditions from cancer to PTSD. Amendment 2 received overwhelming support (65%-35%) compared to Amendment 3 (31%-69%) and Prop C (43%-57%)

In Utah, Prop 2 also won (54%-46%). Combined with Missouri’s victory, there are now 32 states with legal medical-marijuana. However, the vote was moot since a compromise had been reached a month ago between Utah Patients Collective and the state legislature. The regulations will need to be ironed out, but it has already been decided that home growing will not be allowed.

DPA’s MARIA McFARLAND SANCHEZ-MORENO: “Western and northeastern states have led the way on legalizing marijuana, but the victory in Michigan powerfully demonstrates the national reach of this movement.»

The last of the marijuana initiatives to make the midterms ballot, Measure 3 in North Dakota, lost by a 57%-43% margin. It didn’t call for specific amounts that would be legal or how to create a commercial market for cultivation, processing, testing and sales. That would’ve been determined by the legislature.

Marijuana Policy Project donated nearly $750,000 to the effort in Michigan. «This is yet another historic election for the movement to end marijuana prohibition,» executive director Steve Hawkins stated. «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. Marijuana has now been legalized for adult use in one out of every five states, so I think it’s safe to say federal laws are in need of an update. We hope the results of this election will inspire Congress to finally start addressing the tension that exists between state and federal marijuana laws in our nation.»

NORML executive director Erik Altieri hailed the passage of Prop 1 as well:

“Voters in Michigan sent a resounding rebuke to their state’s failed policy of prohibition and elected to follow a new, more sensible path of regulation and legalization. Instead of arresting thousands of citizens a year for possession of a plant, Michigan will now be able to prioritize law enforcement resources towards combating violent crime, honor personal freedom and civil liberties, end the racist application of weaponizing prohibition laws against communities of color, and collect tax revenue that was previously going to black market elements and put it towards important social programs such as education and infrastructure development.”

Drug Policy Alliance executive director Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno also weighed in:

“Western and northeastern states have led the way on legalizing marijuana, but the victory in Michigan powerfully demonstrates the national reach of this movement. With such overwhelming public support for marijuana legalization, even including majorities of Republicans and older Americans, there’s only so long that the federal government can continue to hold out.”

MPP’s deputy director Matthew Schweich addressed the success in Missouri:

«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. Now that more than 30 states have enacted comprehensive medical marijuana laws, it is time for Congress to step up and address the issue at the federal level.»

About Prop 2 in Utah, NORML political director Justin Strekal commented:

“It’s our hope that Utah’s politicians will respect the will of the electorate and move swiftly to enact The Utah Medical Cannabis Act in a manner that comports with both the spirit of the law and the letter of law.”

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