November 16, 2018, 11:10


Marijuana legalization had a pretty good election night

Marijuana legalization had a pretty good election night

Marijuana legalization had a very good election night on Tuesday.

The big news came from Michigan, which became the first state in the Midwest to legalize cannabis for recreational purposes. And it appears to have won by a fairly big margin: With 87 percent of precincts reporting, the “yes” vote got 56 percent of the vote — topping the “no” vote by 12 percentage points.

There were also a couple of medical marijuana victories in Missouri and Utah. Both states went Republican in state races (particularly the Senate), yet they still showed solid support for legalizing medical pot. The winning measure in Missouri got 66 percent of the vote, and the initiative in Utah is so far, with 95 percent of precincts reporting, at 53 percent.

Related

4 winners and 2 losers from the 2018 midterm elections

The one bit of bad news for legal marijuana came from North Dakota, where voters rejected an initiative that would have legalized cannabis for recreational purposes. That measure got less than 41 percent support.

But the North Dakota loss was widely expected. North Dakota is very conservative; it was always very unlikely to fully legalize pot before, say, liberal New York and New Jersey. The measure’s chances were likely lowered further because it was very unusual: It would have legalized selling pot without any regulations, leaving it to the state’s lawmakers to quickly enact rules instead. Typically, marijuana legalization measures at least set up a regulatory framework for sales.

In short, marijuana legalization got three major wins and an expected loss on Tuesday.

Beyond the midterm elections, 2018 has been a big year for marijuana legalization. This year, California opened the world’s biggest legal marijuana market, Vermont legalized marijuana possession (becoming the first state to do so through its legislature), and Canada became the world’s first wealthy nation to fully legalize pot.

After Election Day, 10 states have legalized marijuana for recreational and medical uses, and 22 others have legalized only for medical purposes.

For more on marijuana legalization, read Vox’s explainer.

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