Michigan Poised To Become 10th State To Legalize Recreational Marijuana
Voters in the Great Lakes State decided Tuesday to make Michigan Great Lakes Baked.
Proposal 1, which would legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older in the state, was headed for victory at the time of publication early Wednesday: 57 percent of votes were in favor of the ballot question and 43 percent were against it with 64 percent of precincts reporting.
Michigan’s transition to a recreational marijuana market comes in a midterm election that has a tangible effect on the rapidly emerging business of legal cannabis.
North Dakota’s Measure 3, which would have legalized recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older and created an automatic expungement process for past marijuana convictions, was roundly defeated.
The ballot question was rejected by voters, with 59.4 percent against, 40.6 percent in favor and 94 percent of precincts reporting, according to The New York Times.
In Utah, Proposition 2 to legalize medical marijuana was ahead at the time of publication, at 54 percent “yes” to 46 percent “no” and 62 percent of precincts reporting.
Missouri voters approved Amendment 2 — one of three medical marijuana proposals on the ballot Tuesday — which legalizes medical marijuana and taxes it at a 4-percent rate. The revenue will be dedicated to veterans’ health care.
The amendment passed with 65.3 percent of the vote and 95 percent of precincts reporting, according to The New York Times.
Benzinga, which recently brought 600 investors to Toronto for the first-ever Cannabis Capital Conference, is hosting the Michigan Cannabis Business Roundtable at its Detroit headquarters Friday, Nov. 9. Click here for more information and tickets to the first event focused on the cannabis space after Tuesday’s affirmative vote.
Why It’s Important
“Voters in Michigan sent a resounding rebuke to their state’s failed policy of prohibition and elected to follow a new, more sensible path of regulation and legalization,” Erik Altieri, the executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said in a late Tuesday statement.
At a forum on Proposal 1 last month in Detroit, former White House drug policy advisor Kevin Sabet said Michigan’s recreational marijuana law is wide-open.
"It's about money and profits for a small amount of people," Sabet said.
With ballot proposals in four states that held the potential for the creation of new legal cannabis markets of varying degrees, marijuana stocks rallied during Tuesday's trading session:
- Canopy Growth Corp (NYSE:CGC) was up 5.95 percent at $42.59 at the close.
- Cronos Group Inc (NASDAQ:CRON) was 9.7 percent higher at $9.05.
- Tilray Inc (NASDAQ:TLRY) shares surged 5.82 percent to $106.86.
- Aurora Cannabis Inc (NYSE:ACB) jumped 0.95 percent to $7.40.
- Aphria Inc (NYSE:APHA) rose 4.61 percent to $12.72.
Michigan voters previously OK’ed the legalization of medical marijuana via a 2008 ballot initiative, and the state has the second-largest medical patient base in the country, according to the Marijuana Business Daily factbook.
Proposal 1, the “Michigan Marijuana Legalization Initiative,” allows adults over 21 to possess, consume and grow cannabis. In Michigan, ballot initiatives take effect 10 days after election results are certified.
The initiative allows residents to grow up to 12 plants for personal use and possess up to 10 ounces at home, with amounts over 2.5 ounces stored in a locked container. The proposal taxes recreational cannabis at a 10-percent rate and creates a statewide regulatory system that allows communities to ban or restrict marijuana businesses.
Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs must begin accepting applications for marijuana retail stores within a year of Proposal 1’s effective date.
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