Voters in Michigan, Missouri, Utah approve marijuana legalization

WASHINGTON — Voters in three states approved the expansion of marijuana use on Tuesday.

Michigan voters made their state the first in the Midwest to legalize recreational marijuana by passing a ballot measure that will allow people 21 or older to buy and use the drug.

A similar measure was defeated in North Dakota, meaning there are now 10 states — including Colorado, which was the first — that allow recreational use of pot.

Missouri and Utah became the 31st and 32nd states to approve the medical use of marijuana.

“Western and northeastern states have led the way on legalizing marijuana, but the victory in Michigan powerfully demonstrates the national reach of this movement,” said Maria McFarland Sanchez-Moreno, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance who questioned how long the federal government could resist the legalization wave.

Three marijuana-related initiatives were on the ballot in Missouri. Each legalized growing, manufacturing, selling and consuming marijuana and marijuana products for medicinal use.

“Thanks to the unflagging efforts of patients and advocates, Missourians who could benefit from medical marijuana will soon be able to use it without fear of being treated like criminals,” said Matthew Schweich, deputy director of the pro-legalization Marijuana Policy Project.

“There is near-universal support in the U.S. for providing seriously ill patients with legal access to medical cannabis. Most voters, regardless of their age, geographic location, or political persuasion, recognize the medical benefits of marijuana and believe it should be available to those who can benefit from it.

“Now that more than 30 states have enacted comprehensive medical marijuana laws, it is time for Congress to step up and address the issue at the federal level.”

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