Voters in Michigan affirmed a ballot measure to legitimize recreational utilization of cannabis on Tuesday, and two different states — Missouri and Utah — supported medical marijuana laws. Voters in North Dakota didn’t join in, dismissing a measure to sanction recreational marijuana use.
Presently, 33 states have legitimized marijuana somewhat, and recreational marijuana use is currently legitimate in 10 states, alongside Washington, D.C. But under federal law, possessing, selling or using marijuana remains illegal.
Leading into the Nov. 6 vote, both Michigan and North Dakota previously had medical marijuana laws set up. Utah and Missouri didn’t have sweeping enactment on the books, however Missouri had lightened the potential punishments for first-time offenses.
Marijuana legitimization advocates opened their arms to the news from Michigan, the primary Midwestern state to favor recreational cannabis. Supporters called it verification that a wide assortment of Americans need and want the nation’s cannabis laws to change.
“I think it’s safe to say federal laws are in need of an update,” Steve Hawkins, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement. He added, “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.”
Here are the vote counts, as announced by each state’s race workplaces as of 9:30 a.m. ET Wednesday:
Michigan Proposal 1: 55 percent in support, 45 percent against
Missouri Amendment 2: 65.5 percent in support, 34.5 percent against
North Dakota Measure 3: 59.5 percent against, 40.5 percent in support
Utah Proposition 2: 53 percent in support, 47 percent against
“Michigan residents over 21 years old will soon be able to buy, possess, use, and grow marijuana,” reports member station Michigan Radio, which includes that Proposal 1’s benefactors will now aim towards looking to cancel criminal records identified with non-violent marijuana cases.
In Missouri, St. Louis Public Radio reports that Amendment 2 would impose a 4% tax on sales of medical marijuana, with the funds used to pay for the program. Any overage would go to the state’s veterans commission. The station adds, “For the most part, there was no opposition arguing against the idea of medical marijuana.”
North Dakota’s Measure 3 would have required “the expungement of all marijuana-related convictions,” according to Prairie Public Broadcasting reports. But critics said it went too far. The North Dakota Association of Counties opposed the measure, saying it lacked limits on how much marijuana one person could grow. It also said the state is still struggling to implement the 2016 measure that legalized medical use.
In Utah, Gov. Gary Herbert and key legislators already were working to frame a medical marijuana bill that is similar to Proposition 2, with the intention of passing it regardless of how Tuesday’s vote turned out. Those backing the plan to approve medical use include the Mormon church.