November 6, 2018, may have resulted in a split decision for Republicans and Democrats, but cannabis emerged from the midterm election a clear winner. Voters in Missouri and Utah green-lighted medical programs, becoming the 31st and 32nd states to do so. Michigan voters turned their state into the 10th—and the first in the Midwest—to legalize recreational use. A long-shot measure to legalize recreational use in North Dakota failed.
In Colorado, an amendment removing the definition of industrial hemp from the state’s constitution squeezed through with 61 percent of the vote.
“In a nation that seems divided on almost every issue, cannabis is one that seems to have support from both sides,” said Kushco Holdings Chief Executive Officer Nick Kovacevich. “It is great to see existing medical states continue to blaze down the legalization path toward full-blown adult-use.”
Michigan: Proposal 1
Michigan residents approved recreational use for adults age 21 and older. Each adult may cultivate up to 12 plants. A 10-percent excise tax on all sales will be used to fund local governments, schools, and infrastructure projects.
Missouri: Amendment 2
Missourians faced a choice between three cannabis measures, each of which presented a different tax model. All three proposed growing, manufacturing, selling, and consuming the plant for medicinal purposes. Amendment 2, which won in a landslide, imposes a sales tax of 4 percent, which is earmarked to fund veterans healthcare. The amendment allows patients to grow up to six plants; caretakers up to 18.
Utah: Measure 3
Despite a majority of residents belonging to a religious faith that eschews alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, and illegal drugs, Utah voters approved medicinal cannabis. Measure 3 legalizes use by patients with a qualifying condition. Utahans may not grow their own or smoke, but vape pens and edibles will be allowed.
North Dakota: Measure 3
North Dakota voters rejected a measure that would have allowed residents age 21 and older to possess, use, grow, buy, and sell recreational cannabis. Measure 3 also would have expunged previous cannabis-related convictions. The measure may have been handicapped by North Dakota’s practice of leaving details like regulation and taxing unspecified.
North Dakota legalized medical cannabis in 2016.
Colorado: Amendment X
Though the constitutional amendment received little press outside the state, inside Colorado’s borders Amendment X was a source of much debate. When Colorado voters added recreational cannabis use to their state constitution in 2012, the amendment tied the state’s definition of industrial hemp to the federal government’s. Proponents of Amendment X—which removed industrial hemp from the constitution altogether—said constitutionally defining hemp could put Colorado farmers at a competitive disadvantage if the federal government changes its policies. Opponents of the amendment argued farmers rely on the business protection afforded by the state’s constitution.
With federal legalization of industrial hemp looming in the Farm Bill, voters came down on the side of unhitching their state from the feds.
“Last night was another good night for marijuana policy, as we’ve seen in nearly every election since 2012,” said 4 Front Holdings President Kris Krane. “The American public continues to show they are far ahead of too many of their elected leaders.”