Three More States Legalize Marijuana

Above: Has marijuana legalization reached a tipping point? Photo by REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

The midterm elections have further loosened marijuana restrictions in the United States. Voters in three of four states with ballot proposals on marijuana approved those initiatives.

In Utah and Missouri, voters on Tuesday decided that patients should have access to medical marijuana.

Michigan, which already had medical marijuana, became the first Midwestern state to fully legalize pot. It joins nine other U.S. states, Washington, D.C., Canada and Uruguay in launching a regulated recreational marijuana market.

North Dakotans decisively rejected a proposal to make marijuana legal for recreational purposes.

Before Tuesday’s vote, 22 American states had adopted comprehensive medical marijuana programs. California was the first, recognizing in 1996 the therapeutic uses of marijuana in easing the symptoms of serious illnesses like HIV, cancer, epilepsy, PTSD and glaucoma. Recently, marijuana’s potential value for treating chronic pain has garnered attention as an alternative to opioids.

No tipping point
Nationally, support for marijuana has never been stronger. Seventy-two percent of Democrats and a narrow majority of Republicans – 51 percent – support legalization, according to Gallup.

Strong public support and successive waves of state-level legalization in election years have led many policy analysts to argue that marijuana has reached a tipping point in the United States.

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SOURCE: PBS Newshour, Daniel J. Mallinson and Lee Hannah