Michigan Becomes First Midwest State to Legalize Recreational Marijuana

Ann Santiago
November 8, 2018

After a very exciting midterm election, it looks like a few more states will have legal cannabis. A 10 percent tax on retail sales will be distributed between "local governments, K-12 education, and infrastructure projects". Missouri became the 31st state to approve the medical use of marijuana, while Utah was considering that step.

At some point, Congress will have to officially recognize what's going on by reconciling federal law, which still prohibits marijuana in any form for any objective, with state laws that tolerate medical or recreational use.

Supporters of the marijuana ballot measure in MI expect legalization to bring in about $130 million more in tax revenue each year.

Cannabis stocks reached new highs in pre-market trading Wednesday morning after voters in MI legalized the recreational use of marijuana. Sales there, estimated to start in 2020, could grow to as much as US$1.7b in the coming years, according to the trade publication Marijuana Business Daily.

Voters in Missouri passed medical marijuana, but their ballot was particularly unique.

State laws allowing recreational use of marijuana have spread across the United States since Colorado voters approved one in 2012.

Adding two more states with medicinal marijuana would mean nearly 70 per cent of Americans could have access to the drug for that goal. A Gallup poll found that 72 percent of Democrats and 51 percent of Republicans support legalization.

In the United States, Oklahoma voters overwhelmingly approved medical marijuana in late June, while Vermont legalized recreational use shortly after on July 1.

Proposition No. 2 in Utah passed with about 53 percent of voters for the measure and about 47 percent against it.

While cannabis laws continue to change state by state, primarily through ballot measures, experts note that increasing support across the country could push federal legalization to happen more quickly. As there's no list specifying qualifying illnesses or disorders, doctors will be allowed to recommend medical cannabis to patients as they see fit.

Just yesterday, Senator Olga Sanchez, Mexican President-elect Andrew Manual Lopez Obrador's choice for interior minister, announced plans to submit a recreational marijuana bill to Congress.

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