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With an impressive voter turnout that may challenge previous midterm records, Michigan has officially passed its legalization ballot initiative. Proposition 1 will allow adults ages 21 or older who live in the state of Michigan to grow up to 12 cannabis plants in their own home. By December 6th, Michigan law enforcement will have to stop arresting people for simple possession and compliant home cultivation.
This new law will also create a legal infrastructure for the retail sale of adult recreational cannabis in the Great Lakes State over the next year. This law was sorely needed, in no small part due to the fact that state lawmakers and law enforcement in Michigan have refused for the last decade to respect the wishes of voters when it comes to the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act.
In the near future, Michigan will become the 10th state with legal adult access to cannabis. It is also the first state in the Midwest to legalize adult recreational cannabis, potentially increasing the state’s ability to attract tourism money. That wasn’t the only victory against the drug war on November 6th, 2018. Both Missouri and Utah, staunchly conservative states, passed medical cannabis initiatives.
It is also worth noting that although North Dakota did not pass its cannabis initiative for adult recreational use, early analysis of the results indicates that it received roughly 40% support from voters. That is the same level of support that cannabis legalization had in Colorado in 2008. In other words, with some tweaking and perhaps some money from National organizations, which the initiative in North Dakota this year did not receive, North Dakota could become the first conservative state to pass a legal cannabis measure in a few years.
With 1/5 of states now having legal adult recreational cannabis, it seems as though the momentum to end cannabis prohibition is truly reaching a critical level around the United States. Congratulations to the voters in Michigan, Missouri, and Utah for passing their ballot initiatives. Congrats to voters all over the country for electing the first Native American women and Muslim women as representatives, as well as the youngest ever representative and the first openly gay governor!
Federal lawmakers, especially those new to office or who retained their seats by a thin margin, should pay close attention to the level of voter support that cannabis legalization and anti-prohibition measures have across the country. Activists, this is not the time to stop pushing. It is a time to redouble your efforts as the country inches, state by state, toward rational cannabis policy.