Marijuana initiatives appeared on ballots in four states in the midterm elections. In Michigan and North Dakota, initiatives gave voters the opportunity to legalize marijuana for recreational use. In Missouri and Utah, voters chose whether to allow people who are sick to use the drug for medical reasons.
Michigan became the first Midwestern state to legalize recreational marijuana, and the 10th state, in addition to the District of Columbia, to allow adults to possess the drug in small amounts for recreational use. Fifty-six percent of the states voters cast ballots in favor of the measure.
In doing so, voters endorsed Proposal 1, the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act, which permits people who are 21 or older to possess and grow cannabis and related concentrates for personal use. It also licenses commercial production and retail sales of marijuana.
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Advocates of legalization said the measure would curb arrests and redirect tax money. The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, which tracked the progress of the Michigan vote and the marijuana ballot initiatives in other states, said voters approval of Proposal 1 was a resounding rebuke of the states policy of prohibition and of its racist application of arrests.
We probably wont be working with opponents initially, but well be working with the new administration to try and minimize some of the obvious problems with implementing this, he said. Regardless of what the voters decided, the day this law takes effect, marijuana will still be illegal at the federal level and all the surrounding states. In Michigan were proud to be the Great Lakes State. Hopefully, voters may have second thoughts about making this the Gray Haze state.
In 2016, the Michigan police made over 22,000 marijuana-related arrests, the executive director of Norml, Erik Altieri, said in a statement on Wednesday. That wasteful and harmful practice ends today, he said.
“We heard overnight, me in particular, from a number of communities around Michigan, literally 20 or 25, that were essentially saying, This is awful. How do we opt out? ” Greenlee said, declining to name specific municipalities. “We know from past experience in Colorado the vast majority of the state from a municipal standpoint has opted out.”
A 2017 Gallup poll found that a majority of Americans — 64 percent — supported legalization of marijuana in some form. It remains illegal at the federal level.
But in North Dakota, 59.5 percent of voters gave a thumbs down to Measure 3, which would have legalized the recreational use of marijuana for people who are 21 or older. It would have also established a process to expunge convictions involving marijuana.
“We put all of our energy and resources into educating voters so hopefully we wouldnt have to be at this place,” Greenlee said. “But, we are are going to look at it full steam and full speed ahead at this point and explore every option from a legal, policy and practical standpoint.”
Video: Michigan voters bring legal recreational pot to the Midwest
Opponents of legalization said the proposal was too open-ended and did not have enough detail about how the drug would be regulated. It will be the wild, wild West in North Dakota if it passes, Robert Wefald, a former state attorney general and the chairman of North Dakotans Against the Legalization of Recreational Marijuana, said in an interview in September as he spearheaded a campaign opposing Measure 3.
Medical marijuana was also on the ballot in Utah, after the Mormon Church joined lawmakers, the governor and advocates last month to back a deal that would legalize it in the conservative state.
Our offices have never focused on the prosecution of marijuana users or low-level offenders, unless aggravating factors are present. That will not change. Nevertheless, crimes involving marijuana can pose serious risks and harm to a community. The seriousness of the offense and impact on a community includes a broad range of related activity and concerns for federal law enforcement. These concerns include, for example: adverse effects of interstate trafficking of marijuana; the involvement of other illegal drugs or illegal activity; persons with criminal records; the presence of firearms or violence; criminal enterprises, gangs, and cartels; the bypassing of local laws and regulations; the potential for environmental contamination; and the risks to minors. We, of course, also have an interest in preventing the cultivation, use and distribution of marijuana on federal property.
The ballot initiative, Proposition 2, legalizes the use of medical marijuana for people with qualifying illnesses. As of Wednesday, just over 53 percent of voters had endorsed the ballot initiative. The state is poised to regulate the licensed production and distribution of medical cannabis products to patients who have recommendations from a physician.
The people of Michigan have voted to legalize – with certain restrictions – the possession, use, and distribution of marijuana under state law. However, marijuana continues to be an illegal drug under federal law. As the chief federal law enforcement officers in Michigan, we are providing this statement regarding the enforcement of federal marijuana laws in light of the passage of Proposal One. Because we have taken oaths to protect and defend the Constitution and the laws of the United States, we will not unilaterally immunize anyone from prosecution for violating federal laws simply because of the passage of Proposal One.
Marijuana opposition campaign vows to continue fight
Missouri became one of the 33 states that have embraced medical use of the drug. Three competing measures on the ballot were related to the regulation of medical cannabis.
Group vows continued legislative, legal fight against Proposal 1
With 65.5 percent support, voters approved Amendment 2, which will legalize medical marijuana with a 4 percent tax. Revenue will be dedicated to health care services for veterans. Supporters said the amendment would operate through less bureaucratic procedures and carry a lower tax than the other options.
US Attorneys on Michigan marijuana legalization: We will not unilaterally immunize anyone
Justin Strekal, the political director of Norml, said on Wednesday that Missouri had a law allowing intractable epilepsy patients to possess CBD oil, a cannabis product, but that the state lacked a way for doctors to recommend or distribute it. With the new measure, it is going to create a regulated marketplace for the cultivation and distribution of medical marijuana for patients to access with a physicians recommendation, he said.
In Newton, the voters chose to keep the law as is, but in many states and municipalities, Tuesday’s results will bring far-reaching changes to their state’s marijuana industry.
Video: You can legally smoke pot in Michigan in the next month: What you need to know
Here’s a breakdown of the pot ballot initiatives that passed and failed across the country on Tuesday:
Newton Advertisement In Newton, voters rejected two ballot questions that would have banned or limited marijuana shops from opening in the city.
One question asked voters whether they supported a ban on pot retailers in Newton entirely, and the other question asked whether they wanted to limit the number of pot retailers that could open. Both questions were non-binding, and both failed.
Voters in several states are deciding on far-reaching marijuana ballot measures today, and the results of a number of congressional and gubernatorial races could have big consequences for cannabis policy.
Video: Proposal 1 passes in Michigan legalizing recreational marijuana
As of Wednesday morning, with all precincts reporting, about 54 percent of voters had voted against the ban on marijuana shops, and about 53 percent had voted against limiting them.
Measure 3 failed in ND, but supporters say it may not be end of issue
Because voters chose not to add any restrictions, the state law will remain as it currently stands, allowing the city to have up to eight retail marijuana stores.
The state will have to develop rules and regulations for launching a licensed commercial retail industry for marijuana. Meanwhile, cities, townships and villages in Michigan will have a large say in shaping what that ultimately looks like: they can add restrictions and bans on businesses.
Michigan recreational marijuana passing has some disgusted and others elated
Michigan Michigan is the only state that legalized recreational marijuana Tuesday, and it is the first state in the Midwest to do so.
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The law in Michigan takes effect in about one month. At that point, using and possessing marijuana will be legal, but, like Massachusetts, it could take a couple years to establish a system for retail businesses.
“I think most of us dont want our doctor high. I think most of us dont want our kids bus driver high. And thats where this goes from being an individual liberty decision to a decision that affects non-users,” Sabet said.
Supporters of the marijuana ballot measure in Michigan expect legalization to bring in about $130 million more in tax revenue each year.
North Dakota North Dakota also had a ballot measure for recreational marijuana legalization, but it did not pass.
The initiative failed with about 59 percent voting against legalization and about 40 percent voting in favor, with all precincts reporting by Wednesday morning, according to the North Dakota Secretary of State’s website.
Groups question next steps after voters approve legalizing recreational marijuana
Sioux County, which lies within the Standing Rock Reservation, had the highest percentage of votes in favor of the proposal, with about 71 percent voting in favor of legalization.
Instead of one ballot initiative to legalize marijuana, there were three — each with different marijuana sales tax percentages and allocating that tax revenue to different locations.
The measure that ultimately passed was a constitutional amendment that legalized medicinal marijuana, set the tax rate for marijuana sales at 4 percent, and allocated the tax revenue to health care services for veterans.
That measure passed with about 66 percent of voters approving it and about 34 percent voting against it, according to the Missouri Secretary of State’s website.
Current state law, according to a sheet explaining the proposition from the Utah Lieutenant Governor’s office, requires that by Jan. 1, 2019, Utah ensures “that cannabis is grown in the state and can be processed into medicinal form” and also that the state “establish a state facility to sell the cannabis that has been processed into a medicinal form.”
In other words, current Utah law allows medical marijuana only if “grown, processed, or sold” by the state, according to the sheet.
The explanation sheet states that the latter will expand “the group of people eligible to use medical cannabis.”
Proposition No. 2 in Utah passed with about 53 percent of voters for the measure and about 47 percent against it.
Other local races Municipalities in several other states also passed local marijuana measures for their cities, towns, or counties.
In Wisconsin, voters in some areas were asked non-binding referendums on cannabis, and ultimately voted in favor of ending marijuana prohibition.
And in Colorado, voters approved a change in the definition of hemp from a “constitutional definition to a statutory definition,” which passed with about 60 percent of the vote, according to the state’s Secretary of State website.