By Cara Oorbeck – Green Wellness Life Operations Guru
The Polls Are Closed And Results Are In
Midterm elections are over and we have seen some real trends toward the legalization and/or reform of Marijuana laws. This election saw numerous amendments and propositions passed at state and local levels this week. The Democrats have won control back of the House and many supporters are anticipating the change to positively impact the legalization at the federal level. However, party leaders have not been so enthusiastic. Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader, has suggested that “success would largely depend on support from President Trump.” The House is anticipated to push the Farm Bill through, but the question of whether or not the Senate will allow serious debate on cannabis reform in the next two years is a lot harder to answer with certainty. This, however, will not likely change the trend toward legalization and reforms at the state level.
Elections Results That May Impact Cannabis
The fight for cannabis reform is not only being fought at the federal level but also at the state level with many representatives being an influencing factor in the future of Cannabis. Some of these include:
- Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer won the US Senate race in New York. Schumer introduced the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act, another bill aimed at legalizing marijuana at the federal level.
- In Texas, a leading voice for marijuana, candidate Beto O’Rourke, lost to incumbent Ted Cruz who has been personally opposed to legalizing Cannabis but believes it should be left to each state to decide.
- Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich., ranking member, U.S. Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee). Chairwoman of the committee during the last farm bill. She has been strong on the environment, and energy programs. She is also supportive of commodity and conservation programs as well.
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) re-elected who initially co-sponsored The STATES Act, a bipartisan effort The measure seeks to block the federal government from interfering in state-approved cannabis programs.
- In Texas, a leading voice for marijuana candidate Beto O’Rourke lost to incumbent Ted Cruz who has been personally opposed to legalizing Cannabis but believes it should be left to each state to decide.
- In Illinois, Democrat J.B. Pritzker won the governor’s race after making marijuana legalization a centerpiece of his campaign.
- In New Mexico, Michelle Lujan Grisham (D), who won the governor’s race, said legalizing marijuana will bring “hundreds of millions of dollars to New Mexico’s economy.”
- Wisconsin, Democrat Tony Evers supports decriminalizing marijuana and allowing medical cannabis and says he wants to put a full marijuana legalization question before voters to decide.
Other Wins For Cannabis
Michigan’s Proposal 1 to legalize marijuana for adult recreation passed this week making it the first state in the Midwest to approve legal weed and the 10th state in the nation. This means the purchase and use of marijuana and marijuana edibles will be legal for all Michigan residents who are 21 or older. Residents 21 and over could grow up to 12 marijuana plants in their private residences for personal use, and keep up to 10 ounces in their private residences. Public use would be banned. This also means Michigan will regulate marijuana businesses and collect taxes on sales. One catch will be that municipalities can decide to ban the sale of recreational marijuana in their communities.
North Dakota Measure 3 was voted down meaning there will be no legalized recreational marijuana use for North Dakota residents 21 and over. There were quite a few less restrictions on the measure including no limits on the amount of marijuana that residents could possess or grow, expunging criminal records of North Dakota residents charged with non-violent drug offenses for controlled substances that are now legal, like cannabis, and the belief that the measure would not have set up a sufficient regulatory system.
Utah’s Proposition 2 passed the legalization of medical marijuana for state residents with qualifying medical conditions. It also sets up a strictly state-regulated medical marijuana pharmacy system, with medical marijuana card holders limited to purchasing two ounces of unprocessed cannabis in a two-week period. If cardholders did not live within 100 miles of a pharmacy, they could grow up to six plants on their own. Smoking marijuana would be prohibited, but other products like edibles would be allowed.
Missouri Amendment 2 passed legalizing medical marijuana and imposing a 4% tax that will be used for veteran services. The amendment also allows home growing.
Several Ohio cities approved local marijuana decriminalization measures
Several Wisconsin counties and cities strongly approved nonbinding ballot questions calling for cannabis reform.
When looking at Tuesday’s midterm elections across our nation, one thing is clear, Americans are trending more and more in support of Federal Marijuana Legalization and reform. About six-in-ten Americans (62%) say the use of marijuana should be legalized, reflecting a steady increase over the past decade, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. After Tuesday the world of Cannabis can definitely tout a big win!