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The Cannabis Catch-Up: Weed Wins the Elections


Published November 9, 2018 at 12:43 p.m.
Updated December 23, 2018 at 3:55 p.m.

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Cannabis was on the ballot across the country Tuesday, and advocates must be happy with the results.

The biggest win: Voters in Michigan legalized recreational cannabis. The law goes into effect as soon as election results are officially certified, which could be in early December, reports the Detroit Free Press. Commercial cannabis sales are still a ways off, probably no earlier than 2020, because rules need to be written and licenses issued.

Meanwhile, Utah — the land of 3.2 beer and Mormons — legalized medical marijuana. Missouri did, too. That makes 33 states with medical marijuana laws on the books, while 10 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized recreational weed.

It wasn’t a clean cannabis sweep. Nearly 60 percent of voters in North Dakota voted against a measure to legalize pot there.

But the gains elsewhere prove that cannabis acceptance is no longer limited to coastal states. The push into the Midwest could prove the tipping point.

We didn’t have a Cannabis Catch-Up last week (sorry!), so here are some stories we’ve followed over the last week-plus:

November 1: The Vermont Medical Society, which represents about 2,000 of the state’s physicians and physician assistants, has come out against plans to create a taxed-and-regulated cannabis market. [Anne Wallace Allen, VTDigger]

November 2: State regulators ordered a Sacramento, Calif., bar to pull a cannabidiol-infused drink from its shelves. This in a state that has legal cannabis. “Until the FDA rules that industrial hemp-derived CBD oil and CBD products can be used as a food or California makes a determination that they are safe to use for human and animal consumption, CBD products are not an approved food, food ingredient, food additive, or dietary supplement,” California regulations say. [Benjy Egel, the Sacramento Bee]

November 7: Canada can’t keep up! There were reports last month that some stores cut back hours because of short supply, but the country is basically out of weed at this point. “We are called High North,” said Trevor Tobin, who opened a shop in Labrador City, Newfoundland. “But legal weed is in such short supply that no one is getting high on it.” [Dan Bilefsky, New York Times]

November 7: More bad news from up north. Canada's postal service reported a data breach that affected 4,500 cannabis buyers in Ontario. [Mike Hager, the Globe and Mail]

November 7: Pro-cannabis advisory referenda in 16 Wisconsin counties passed resoundingly. With a newly elected Democratic governor, could the Badger State become the next to legalize recreational weed? [Don Behm, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

November 7: Cannabis stocks went sky-high after the notoriously anti-pot U.S. attorney general Jeff Sessions was ousted from his post Wednesday. [Kristine Owram, Craig Giammona and Olivia Zaleski, Bloomberg]

November 8: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) participated in a reddit AMA last week and dropped in this little nugget: “I strongly believe that we should move toward the legalization of marijuana because that issue is an integral part of our failed criminal justice system.” [April McCullum, Burlington Free Press]

November 8: In lieu of legalization, Michigan prosecutors are looking into dropping pending cannabis cases. U.S. attorney's offices in the state, meanwhile, are reminding residents that weed is still illegal under federal law. [Christine Ferretti, the Detroit News]

November 8: Newly elected Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker "has said he wants to work on legalizing and decriminalizing cannabis 'nearly right away' after being sworn in next year." Weed companies based in the state are salivating at the prospect. [Ally Marotti, Chicago Tribune

November 8: Will legal weed in Canada result in more arrests along the 5,500-mile border with the United States? [Elizabeth Hewitt, Slate]

November 8: Democrats and Progressives made big gains in the Vermont legislature Tuesday night. With a newfound supermajority, can the coalition pass a law taxing and regulating cannabis — and override a potential gubernatorial veto? [Evan Johnson, Heady Vermont]

November 8: Snoop Dogg took a trip to Washington, D.C., and posted a series of videos of himself smoking weed outside the White House. "Fuck the president," he says in one. [Snoop Dogg, Instagram]
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I had 2 do it pt 3

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