Tuesday, 13 November, 2018

MI voters approve legalization of marijuana

Brian Acker Brian Acker
Priscilla Morrison | 07 November, 2018, 08:23

Voters this evening passed Proposal 18-1 into law, making MI the 10th state to legalize marijuana. Residents of Missouri will decide between three competing measures to legalize medicinal pot. The latter is the only state that does not authorize marijuana stores.

MI now joins nine other states that have legalized marijuana for all uses: Washington, Colorado, California, Oregon, Alaska, Massachusetts, Maine, Nevada and Vermont. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer supports legalization, while Republican candidate Bill Schuette released a statement saying he does not "personally support legalizing recreational marijuana but as governor he will respect the will of the voters".

Supporting the measure is the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, which has been endorsed by a national organization of black-owned businesses and a group of retired MI law enforcement officers. Supporters argued that legalizing pot would free up law enforcement to tackle more serious crimes.

Supporters say it could raise $130million in additional tax revenue each year - money that could be used towards roads, schools, and local governments. They also say its 16 percent tax rate is too low.

Proposals legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes are pending in Missouri and Utah, meanwhile, where their passage would increase the number of states that permit medical cannabis from 31. There are no limits on cannabis possession, sale, and regulation in the proposal. Mr. Sessions ended that practice in January, however, and Tuesday's midterms mark the first time states will vote on legalizing marijuana on the heels of his policy change. With numbers like those it's hard to predict how this one will shake out.

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In Utah the Mormon church, which has outsized sway, supports the proposal after years of opposition after comprising with medical marijuana advocates and agreeing upon parameters for a law that suits all sides. "This compromise eliminates that uncertainty and ensures legislative leaders are committed to making the law work".

Campaigners rally for the approval of medicinal marijuana in Utah.

Smoking weed will remain illegal but the sick will be able to eat marijuana-infused foods and use vape pens.

The polling on the measure is all over the place, with two surveys fielded at roughly the same time in October yielding opposite, lopsided results: One showed the initiative passing 51 percent to 36 percent, while the other showed it failing with 65 percent opposed. North Dakota voters in 2016 legalized medical marijuana.

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