Updated on December 6, 2018.
Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
This election, some voters cast their ballot for more than just candidates. Ballots also included cannabis-related measures. Four states voted for the legalization of marijuana in some form. Michigan and North Dakota had ballot options to vote for recreational marijuana use while Utah and Missouri voted for medical marijuana use.
Additionally, five states voted for governor candidates that could affect the future of the marijuana laws in those states. For those five states, the Democratic nominees favored marijuana laws, while the Republican nominees opposed marijuana laws. If the five states, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, New Hampshire and New York, voted for the Democratic nominee, they could be seeing new recreational or medical marijuana laws in the near future.
Overall, 66 percent of Americans favor the legalization of Marijuana. Will the statistics match the results? Let’s see.
The Results Are In!
Three out of the four states passed the marijuana bill. Michigan, Utah and Missouri passed the bill while North Dakota rejected the medical marijuana bill. Furthermore, Democratic Governors favoring medical marijuana won in three of the five states – Connecticut, Illinois, and New York.
States Voting for Recreational Marijuana
Passed! Michigan voted for the use of recreational marijuana 56 percent to 44 percent making them the 10th state and the first state in the Midwest to make recreational use of marijuana legal. Prior to the election, polls had shown that people of Michigan already approved of recreational use, and with the largest amount of medical Marijuana users in the U.S. residing in Michigan, it is no surprise that recreational marijuana passed in Michigan.
Under the new law, marijuana would be regulated similarly to alcohol. Users 21 years of age or older may possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana. The marijuana will be taxed, which will initially go into the implementation process, then to clinical trials. Anything leftover will go to municipalities, school funds, and transportation funds.
Did not pass! Some sources report that the reason users did not vote for recreational marijuana was due to the lack of outlined regulations for the industry. The bill did not set possession limits or regulatory structure. Before the election, polls had shown mixed results. Medical marijuana is still being implemented in Dakota, which could be another reason voters turned down recreational marijuana. In 2016, North Dakota approved Measure 5, which established a medical cannabis program for the state. In 2017, changes were passed to the Measure, and in 2018, the Department of Health finally opened its application window for medical dispensary licenses in designated areas.
A month previous to the election, both candidates on the ballot came together to support a plan to legalize the use of marijuana by patients under doctor’s care which would have most likely led to legalization even if the medical marijuana bill did not pass during the election.
Under the new law, approved patients will be issued a state identification card allowing them to purchase up to two ounces of medical marijuana from a dispensary within a two-week period. Smoking marijuana, even with a medical marijuana card, is still not allowed under the new bill. Medical marijuana sales will be sales tax exempt. Lastly, at home cultivation is not allowed unless the patient lives over 100 miles away from a dispensary.
Passed! Missouri voters voted yes or no on three ballot options that varied on the tax percent and other criteria, ultimately passing Amendment 2, 66 percent to 34 percent. The voted four percent sales tax will go to a military veterans fund for healthcare services after implementation costs are covered.
With the new law, patients can receive an identification card allowing them to purchase up to four ounces of medical marijuana and grow up to six plants per month. Smoking of the plant will be allowed for nine approved conditions, with other ailments conditional under physician’s approval.
States Voting for Governors With Opposing Marijuana Views
Ned Lamont, Democrat, won against the Republican candidate, Bob Stefanowski 48.6 percent to 46.8 percent.
Republican candidate Ron DeSantis won the election for governor against Andrew Gillum 49.7 percent to 49 percent.
The election for governor was won by Democrat candidate J.B. Pritzker. He beat Republican Bruce Rauner 54 percent to 39.3 percent.
Republican candidate, Chris Sununu, defeated the Democratic candidate, Molly Kelly, 52.8 percent to 45.8 percent.
Democrat candidate Andrew M. Cuomo won the election for governor against Republican Marc Molinaro 59 percent to 36.8 percent.