Marijuana legalization passed in three of potentially four states during the midterm elections on Tuesday night. Michigan legalized the use of recreational adult use, while Missouri and Utah legalized medical marijuana. North Dakota failed to pass its recreational marijuana initiative, but it has already legalized medical marijuana. Michigan has become the 10th state in the country to legalize recreational marijuana, while Missouri and Utah joined 31 other states that have legalized medical marijuana.
Table of Contents
- Michigan, Missouri, and Utah Pass Marijuana Measures
- Michigan Legalizes Adult-Use Recreational Marijuana
- Missouri Passes 1 of 3 Medical Marijuana Constitutional Amendments
- Utah Passes Medical Marijuana Proposition for Qualifying Conditions
- What’s Next for Marijuana in the US?
Michigan, Missouri, and Utah Pass Marijuana Measures
The future of marijuana in the United States continues to brighten as Michigan, Missouri, and Utah passed new marijuana measures during the midterm elections on Tuesday.
North Dakota was the only state not to pass its marijuana ballot measure, a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana that was rejected by 59% of voters.
The results pushed the total number of states in the nation that have legalized at least medical marijuana to 33.
Michigan Legalizes Adult-Use Recreational Marijuana
Proposal 1 in Michigan passed by 12 percentage points with a 56-44 margin.
The proposal legalizes recreational marijuana for adults 21 years and older.
Adults will be allowed to possess up to 2.5 ounces on their person or up to 10 ounces at home. They can also grow up to 12 plants in their home but are not allowed to sell them.
Marijuana is not allowed to be smoked in public.
The proposal will take effect 10 days after the results of the election are certified, which happens in early December according to the Detroit Free Press.
However, it could take a while for Michigan to pass legislation governing how the state will issue licenses for recreational marijuana sales.
It seems that Michigan residents should not expect to purchase recreational marijuana until sometime in 2020.
Missouri Passes 1 of 3 Medical Marijuana Constitutional Amendments
Amendment 2, a state constitutional amendment that legalizes medical marijuana with a 4% sales tax, passed with 66% of voters in favor.
Since there is no list of qualifying conditions, physicians can prescribe medical marijuana to a patient with any ailment.
Patients can purchase up to four ounces of marijuana monthly from a licensed dispensary, and they may also grow up to six plants.
The 4% tax is supposed to go toward services for veterans.
The other proposed amendments would have restricted the ability of physicians to recommend medical marijuana by introducing a list of qualifying conditions.
Utah Passes Medical Marijuana Proposition for Qualifying Conditions
Proposition 2, legalizing the use of medical marijuana for individuals with qualifying medical illnesses, passed with 53% in favor and 47% opposed.
Patients will have to obtain a medical marijuana card and have a qualifying condition such as HIV/AIDS, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, or cancer to be prescribed cannabis.
Also, if patients live further than 100 miles from a licensed dispensary, they can grow up to six marijuana plants.
Physicians are not allowed to work for or own a medical dispensary and may only recommend medical marijuana to up to 20% of their patients.
The proposition prohibits smoking but permits vaping, edibles, and other forms of consumption.
What’s Next for Marijuana in the US?
Marijuana legalization has been steadily increasing throughout the nation since California first legalized medical marijuana back in 1996.
However, cannabis remains illegal federally, forcing businesses, consumers, physicians, and patients to operate in a legal grey area.
With now two-thirds of the nation’s states legalizing at least medical marijuana, along with the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico, the federal government is increasingly finding itself at odds with the majority of its states.
Matthew Schweich, deputy director of the Marijuana Policy Project, an organization focused on ending marijuana prohibition in the United States, believes the time has come for federal legislators to act.
“Most voters, regardless of their age, geographic location, or political persuasion, recognize the medical benefits of marijuana and believe it should be available to those who can benefit from it,” said Schweich shortly after Missouri’s amendment was passed. “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.”