Four states on Tuesday voted on marijuana-related issues, and cannabis legalization advocates can claim victory in three of them. Specifically, Missouri, Utah, and Michigan either legalized marijuana in one form or another or at the very least loosened existing laws regulating cannabis. North Dakota voters, however, weren't so high on legalizing pot.
Missouri Legalizes Medical Marijuana
Residents of the Show-Me State will soon be showing their doctors' recommendations at the doors of medical marijuana dispensaries, as the voters soundly approved Amendment 2, which creates a medical marijuana program, largely similar to that of other states, in the state.
As the Springfield News-Leader reports, Missouri voters overwhelmingly approved medical marijuana via Amendment 2, one of three competing and contradictory medical marijuana legalization proposals. Amendment 2 had the backing of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and other cannabis legalization advocacy groups and was the most liberal of the three proposals.
It remains unclear, as of this writing, when dispensaries will open up in Missouri and when patients will be allowed to start getting their medicine.
So Does Utah, Sort Of
Like Missouri, Utah voters also approved a statewide medical marijuana program. However, unlike Missouri's program, the Utah model is considerably more strict. For example, patients must meet one of a very short list of qualifying conditions to get a recommendation, and the proposal puts tight limits on where dispensaries can be located.Despite intense opposition from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which to a large degree informs a lot of the politics in the Beehive State, voters approved medical marijuana by 53 percent to 47 percent, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.
Michigan Upgrades From Medical To Fully Legal Recreational
Michigan has, for years, had a medical marijuana program. But on Tuesday night, according to Forbes, voters approved an initiative that would do away with the medical marijuana program and replace it with fully-legal recreational marijuana, like California's or Colorado's models.
According to Forbes, Michigan voters approved the upgrade, via Proposal 1, 56 percent to 44 percent.
North Dakota Passes
Unlike the other three states, North Dakota voters weren't interested in legalizing marijuana on Tuesday. As Forbes reports, that may have been because legalization advocates went all-in with their proposal, and the voters in the deeply conservative state weren't ready for it. In addition to fully legalizing recreational marijuana, the proposal would have expunged marijuana-related convictions and placed no limits on the amount of plants users could grow.
Still, Mason Tvert, a spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, is optimistic about the future of legalized cannabis in North Dakota, saying that "the ball is rolling" toward legalization.