Michigan Legalizes Recreational Marijuana, Utah and Missouri Ease Restrictions

Originally posted on Mish Talk

National laws are in need of a serious overhaul as states take matters into their own hands.

In midterm election votes, Michigan, Utah and Missouri eased restrictions on marijuana.

There are now 33 U.S. states that have legalized marijuana to some degree, and recreational pot use is now legal in 10 states, along with Washington, D.C. But possessing, selling or using marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

Coming into the Nov. 6 vote, both Michigan and North Dakota already had medical marijuana laws in place. Utah and Missouri didn't have far-reaching legislation on the books, though Missouri lightened the potential penalties for first-time offenses.

Four Proposals, Three Passed

"Michigan residents over 21 years old will soon be able to buy, possess, use, and grow marijuana," reports member station Michigan Radio, which adds that Proposal 1's backers will now focus on trying to expunge criminal records related to nonviolent marijuana cases. The measure passed 55 to 45.

In Missouri, St. Louis Public Radio reports that Amendment 2 would impose a four percent tax on sales of medical marijuana, with the funds used to pay for the program. Any overage would go to the state's veterans commission. The station adds, "For the most part, there was no opposition arguing against the idea of medical marijuana." The measure passed 65.5 to 34.5.

North Dakota's Measure 3 would have required "the expungement of all marijuana-related convictions," Prairie Public Broadcasting reports. But critics said it went too far. The North Dakota Association of Counties opposed the measure, saying it lacked limits on how much marijuana one person could grow. It also said the state is still struggling to implement the 2016 measure that legalized medical use. The measure failed 59.5 to 40.5

In Utah, Gov. Gary Herbert and key legislators were already working to frame a medical marijuana bill similar to Proposition 2, with the intention of passing it regardless of how Tuesday's vote turned out, Utah Public Radio reports. Those backing the plan to approve medical use include the Mormon church. The measure passed 53 to 47.

The Federal government is seriously out of touch.

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