Michigan became the 10th state to authorize recreational marijuana use when voters on Tuesday approved Proposal 1 by a comfortable margin. The election results will create what is expected to be a billion-dollar market in the state, the 10th largest in the nation by population.
“Marijuana has now been legalized for adult use in one out of every five states, so I think it’s safe to say federal laws are in need of an update,” Steve Hawkins, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a prepared statement. “We hope the results of this election will inspire Congress to finally start addressing the tension that exists between state and federal marijuana laws in our nation.”
Michigan’s Proposal 1 passed with nearly 2 million votes in support of the effort, compared to 1.6 million against it, according to Michigan electoral records. Marijuana won’t be commercially available at least until 2020, according to a Detroit Free Press report.
“It’s not going to be an earth-shattering change,” Jeffrey Hank, a lawyer in Michigan and executive director of MI Legalize, told the Free Press. Hank said that after the vote is certified “adults will no longer be arrested for simple possession and use of marijuana.”
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Election night delivered a number of victories to advocates of legalized marijuana. Voters in Missouri approved Amendment 2, one of three medical marijuana measures on the ballot, which will allow qualified patients to buy cannabis with a doctor’s recommendation.
A ballot measure in Utah that would authorize medical marijuana use was also leading in unofficial results. State leaders there have said they will consider possible changes to Proposition 2 in a special session later this year.
Marijuana advocates also saw the defeat of one of their biggest legislative nemesis. Republican Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, lost his race for a 12th term in Congress. As chair of the House Rules Committee, Sessions regularly blocked legislation to ease federal restrictions on state-legal marijuana.
North Dakota marked the only state-level loss for legalization-backers on Tuesday. Voters there overwhelmingly defeated an initiative that would have created one of the most liberal recreational-use laws in the nation.