Mid-term voters in Michigan chose to legalize recreational use of marijuana Tuesday. Missouri and Utah endorsed medical marijuana laws.
With the approved ballot measures, 10 states allow recreational pot use and 33 approve some forms of use of cannabis. Sixty percent of North Dakotan voters, on the other hand, voted against any form of legalization.
Selling or using marijuana remains illegal at the federal law but the number of states that regulate its production and commerce is growing.
"I think it's safe to say federal laws are in need of an update," said Steve Hawkins, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. He added in his 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."
Prior to the Nov. 6 vote, Utah and Missouri didn't have far-reaching marijuana legislation on the books. Michigan is now the first Midwestern state, a generally conservative region, to approve recreational marijuana. Legalization supporters say this is proof that a wide variety of people in the United States want cannabis legislation to change.
"Michigan residents over 21 years old will soon be able to buy, possess, use, and grow marijuana," says local Michigan media. Pot advocates in Michigan say they are now trying to erase nonviolent marijuana convictions from criminal records within the state.
As Missouri’s new legislation goes into effect, a four percent sales tax will be placed on all medical marijuana sold with a portion of the funds going to the state's veterans commission.
"For the most part, there was no opposition arguing against the idea of medical marijuana," local media reported.
The North Dakota Association of Counties opposed Measure 3 that would have eliminated marijuana-related convictions, which overwhelmingly affect Black and Latino men.
According to Utah Public Radio, In Utah, legislators were already crafting a medical marijuana bill similar to the passed Proposition 2 in case voters rejected it Tuesday.
In the United States profits from legal cannabis increased by 33 percent between 2016 and 2017. Profits are expected to make a 150-percent jump from US$16 billion last year to US$40 billion in 2021, according to an ArcView Market Research and BDS Analytics report.