In the middle of the chaos that was the U.S. midterm elections, Michigan became the 10th state to legalize recreational cannabis use for adults.
Voters in Michigan turned out to pass Prop 18-1, which allows adults over the age of 21 to consume and possess regulated quantities of cannabis flower, edibles, and concentrates.
56% of voters approved Prop 18-1, which is likely to cause a sizeable drop in drugs-related convictions in Michigan. According to the Drug Policy Alliance, there were 200,000 drugs-related arrests in the state between 2007 and 2016, with 84% of those due to cannabis. Cannabis related arrests caused a considerable drain on police resources, and with approximately 50 less arrests per day (you do the math) under new legislation, this frees up local law enforcement to focus on more serious crimes.
Under new legislation, Michigan residents will be permitted to cultivate up to 12 cannabis plants in their homes for their own personal use, however, possession of cannabis products at home will be limited to 10 ounces. While consuming cannabis in public will still be prohibited under new law, public possession of dry herb cannabis will be limited to 2.5 oz per person, and public possession of cannabis concentrates will be limited to 15 grams per individual.
While Prop 18-1 will put an end to the needless drain on police resources, the economy will see a boost from the 10% cannabis sales tax that will be imposed on cannabis products sold in Michigan. Profit from this sales tax will be funneled back into much needed areas, such as education, clinical research, and infrastructure.
While the measure will allow localities to opt out of the program by limiting or prohibiting recreational cannabis businesses from operating in their area, places where cannabis business will operated will also see a boost from the 10% cannabis sales tax. This opt out scheme can only apply to the commercial sale of cannabis and cannabis products, and an individual’s right to possess and cultivate cannabis plants for their own person use within their home will not be affected.
Elsewhere across the country, other states legalized medical cannabis while some pushed back against liberalizing current medical cannabis laws to include recreational use. Voters in North Dakota pushed against Measure 3, which would have scrapped “hashish, marijuana and tetrahydrocannabinols” from the Schedule 1 list, which would have effectively made recreational cannabis use legal for adults (you win some, you lose some).
Voters in Utah backed Proposition 2 by 54%, which will allow residents living with an expansive range of health conditions – such as PTSD, chronic pain conditions, gastrointestinal disorders and autism – to use various cannabis products such as raw flower, as well as cannabis oils and edibles containing CBD and THC for therapeutic use. Prop 2 will also allow some patients to cultivate up to six cannabis plants for their own personal use, while state-controlled medical cannabis dispensaries will also be established under new legislation.
In Missouri, over 64% of voters passed Amendment 2, which was one of three competing measures to legislate for medical cannabis use within the state. Amendment 2 will impose a 4% cannabis sales tax on medical cannabis products, which will be funnelled into veteran health care services.