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2018 Election Night: Marijuana Legalization Results


Another historic election night for the marijuana law reform movement has come and gone, and overall one would be hard-pressed not to deem it a success for those who favor cannabis legalization (see video below).

On the recreational (adult-use) legalization front, there was a mixed bag with a victory in Michigan and a defeat in North Dakota. “Western and northeastern states have led the way on legalizing marijuana, but the victory in Michigan powerfully demonstrates the national reach of this movement,” said Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “With such overwhelming public support for marijuana legalization, even including majorities of Republicans and older Americans, there’s only so long that the federal government can continue to hold out.”

When it comes to medical marijuana, victories in Missouri and Utah will allow even more people to access the medicine of their choice. “This is a patient-centered proposal that puts power in the hands of state-licensed physicians and their patients, not politicians or bureaucrats. Passage of Amendment 2 creates a robust statewide system for production and sale of medical cannabis,” NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said of events in MO. “Of the three proposals on the ballot, we believed that Amendment 2 was the clear choice for voters, and the voters agreed.”

The victory in Utah is especially interesting considering the well-known compromise between activists and the state legislature that ensured some form of medical marijuana in the state regardless of tonight’s result. “It is our hope that Utah’s politicians will respect the will of the electorate and move swiftly to enact The Utah Medical Cannabis Act in a manner that comports with both the spirit of the law and the letter of law,” Justin Strekal said in a press release.

With the Democratic Party taking back control of the House of Representatives and the Republican Party strengthening their hold on the Senate, much remains to be seen when it comes to marijuana law reform on the federal level.

But the defeat of a certain Texas GOP Representative should go a long way in unleashing the log-jam of cannabis bills stuck in the U.S. Congress.