In this week’s midterm elections, voters in 3 states approved marijuana measures. There are now 10 states in the U.S. with a recreational marijuana law now that Michigan voters passed a recreational legalization measure. And voters in Missouri and Utah approved medical marijuana legalization.
The Michigan recreational legalization initiative passed by a margin of 56% – 44%, according to the Detroit Free Press. Marijuana will be legal for adults ages 21 and older 10 days after the election results are certified. Residents should not expect to be able to walk into a retail location to purchase legal recreational marijuana until 2020. Arrests for possession and use upon certification of the election results.
- Adults can possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana on their person
- Up to 10 ounces may be possessed within a home in a locked area
- Home cultivation up to 12 plants will be permitted in a locked, area out of public view
- Public consumption will not be allowed
- Public consumption can result in arrest
- Renters may still be restricted from using or growing marijuana within a rented residence
- Employers are permitted to maintain zero-tolerance policies
- Within 1 year, rules and regulations must be created
- The Legislature can make changes to the law that was approved by voters
Josh Harvey for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol said, “There is no public consumption and no driving under the influence and there will be no commercial sales until businesses are licensed and approved.
Regarding the regulatory process, Shelly Edgerton of the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs said, “Our licensing and regulatory infrastructure for medical marijuana can be scaled up to incorporate the oversight of adult-use marijuana. We intend to offer more details regarding the commercial production and distribution of marijuana for adult use after the Michigan Board of Canvassers certifies the election results.”
The rules for recreational marijuana are expected to differ slightly from the state’s current medical marijuana laws.
Legislation is pending to expunge previous misdemeanor marijuana offenses.
Missouri voters approved Amendment 2, the Springfield News-Leader reports. The measure passed with 65% approval. The measure approves cultivation, consumption, manufacturing and sales of medical marijuana.
- Medical marijuana sales will be taxed at 4%
- The tax collected from sales will fund veteran healthcare
- Home cultivation will be permitted for patients up to 6 plants and for caregivers up to 18 plants
Law enforcement officials are not in agreement with the voters’ choice.
It is not known when the program will take effect or when patients can begin applying for medical marijuana cards. The medical marijuana card applications are, however, expected to be available soon.
Jack Cardetti, spokesman for Amendment 2, said, “All Amendment 2 does is allow a doctor to recommend medical marijuana to patients with debilitating illnesses. It does not speak to recreational marijuana at all.”
Missouri is the 31st state in the U.S. to approve medical marijuana.
Utah voters approved Proposition 2 by 53% in Tuesday’s midterm election, Forbes announces. The area with the largest amount of support in the state is Salt Lake County. Utah is known for being one of the most conservative states in the U.S.
Regardless of the outcome, legislation was already in the works to legalize medical marijuana among the state’s lawmakers.
Matthew Schweich of MPP said, “The passage of Proposition 2 illustrates just how broad support has grown for medical marijuana in the U.S. Even in socially conservative states like Utah, most voters recognize marijuana has significant medical value, and they believe it should be available to patients who could benefit from it.”
What the law will allow:
- Home cultivation up to 6 plants if residence is 100 miles or more from a dispensary
- Possession of 2 ounces every 14 day of dry flower or up to 10-grams of other marijuana products containing CBD or THC
- Affirmative defense will be established
- Caregivers can be designated
- Smoking marijuana will not be permitted
- Municipalities cannot ban medical marijuana businesses but can regulate how they operate
- Licenses for cultivation, testing, dispensing and processing will be issued
- Medical marijuana will not be taxed
- Licensing fees will pay for the program’s implementation and regulation
- Regulators may change the law and may reconsider home cultivation or shorten the list of qualifying conditions
Justin Strekal of NORML said, “It is 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.”
Schweich said, “We supported the compromise legislation that was agreed to by the governor, legislative leaders, and some of our opponents because we wanted to ensure an effective medical cannabis law is enacted this year and doesn’t get delayed or torpedoed during the implementation process. Now that the election is over, it’s time for Utah’s political leaders to uphold their promise and implement a workable medical cannabis law as soon as possible.”
It is unknown how long it will take the state to get the program up and running.
Utah is the 32nd state to approve medical marijuana.