The slow march to marijuana legalization continued with the results of ballot initiatives across four states on Tuesday.
Except for North Dakota, where a measure to legalize recreational use and possession and automatically expunge the records for people convicted of marijuana offenses failed, all the statewide measures passed.
Michigan voters approved the recreational use for people over 21, making it the 10th state where marijuana is regulated similarly to alcohol.
Missouri and Utah each approved measures that would create medical marijuana programs, according to the Marijuana Policy Project. (In deeply conservative Utah, the votes are still being counted, but even if it doesn't pass, advocates and lawmakers on both sides of the issue have already struck a deal to push through an agreed-upon piece of legislation in the next session.)
"At this point, medical marijuana may enjoy more public support — and more bipartisan support — than virtually any other policy issue still up for debate. All Americans should have safe, legal, and reliable access to medical cannabis if their doctors recommend it," Steve Hawkins, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement. "We hope Congress will do its part to ensure these state laws continue to be respected by our federal government. Or, better yet, they could enact legislation at the federal level to ensure medical cannabis is a legal treatment option for all Americans.”
This adds to the nine states and the District of Columbia that already allow for recreational marijuana use, and the 30 states where medicinal use is allowed, despite federal prohibition.
The North Dakota measure that failed would have created the most permissive marijuana law because it placed no limits on the amount of marijuana people could grow and possess.
There were also a number of local measures on the ballot. In Ohio, voters in 5 different localities, including Dayton and Fremont, voted to decriminalize possession, according to Marijuana Moment. A similar measure was on the ballot in Garrettsville, Ohio, but failed. In Wisconsin, voters in 14 of 16 counties signaled they were ready for marijuana decriminalization and legalized adult use by a approving series of non-binding resolutions. These resolutions don't change the law, but they do send a message that could lead to policy change later on.
“This is yet another historic election for the movement to end marijuana prohibition," Hawkins said in a statement. "Voters have once again sent a message loud and clear that it is time to legalize and regulate marijuana."