The Marijuana Midterms

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This year’s midterm elections are, by far, one of the most crucial in American history. Millions of voters will take to the polls on Tuesday, November 6th, and ultimately determine the fate of the country moving forward.

In addition to voting people into office, people across the country will also decide on hundreds of significant ballot initiatives, including statewide measures to legalize marijuana in some form. From California to Utah, comprehensive cannabis reform has taken center stage in a key number of states. And the results of next week’s elections could bring about a sea change in how we treat pot in America.

Here’s a roundup of what’s on the ballots and which races to watch.

Statewide Ballot Measures, Recreational

Michigan

Michigan could become the first state in the Midwest to legalize recreational cannabis use, joining nine other states, if voters pass Proposition 18-1. The ballot initiative would make marijuana legal for adults who are age 21 or older, and allow for flower, concentrates or cannabis-infused edibles. Prop 18-1 would also give consumers permission to cultivate up to 12 plants for personal use, but limit possession to 10 ounces of marijuana products stored in their home and to 2.5 ounces in public, provided no more than 15 grams are in concentrate form. (Using cannabis in public, though, is prohibited under the measure). The state would also impose a 10 percent cannabis sales tax, the revenue from which would go toward infrastructure, clinical research, education and regularly costs, as well as localities where marijuana businesses operate. Prop 18-1 would also give local municipalities the ability to opt out of the program, letting them ban or restrict the commercial cannabis industry in their area. The opt-out scheme, though, only applies to recreational marijuana businesses and doesn’t apply to personal cultivation or possession.

North Dakota

North Dakota is another state where cannabis legalization is on the table for voters. The state’s Measure 3 would remove “hashish, marijuana, and tetrahydrocannabinols” (THC) from its list of Schedule I substances, ultimately making recreational pot use legal for all adults. If passed, the ballot initiative would prohibit anyone over 21 years old from being prosecuted for a nonviolent cannabis-related offense, such as growing, possession or selling, and wouldn’t impose any limits, so there’s no cap on the amount of cannabis a North Dakotan could possess or how many cannabis plants they can cultivate at home. But the legislation is not just about legalization — it also fits into the larger criminal justice reform and expungement movement. Measure 3 would give thousands of North Dakotans a fresh start by triggering the automatic expungement of all nonviolent convictions for “a controlled substance that has been legalized” (in this case, cannabis) and create an appeals process for people who claim the state didn’t expunge their record properly. A potential downside: Measure 3 doesn’t have provisions for regulations or licensing, nor does it create a cannabis-specific tax, which means the state won’t reap the rewards of legalizing weed.

Source: Rolling Stone

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