Cannabis has become legal in some states which were not a huge surprise like California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Nevada. However, the wave is starting to spread to traditionally Conservative states like Utah, Georgia, Missouri, Ohio,Oklahoma and Wisconsin just to name a few.
While medical marijuana legalization isn’t the same as rec. legalization, it has proven to be a critical part of the process in Canada and now 10 US states.
Cannabis In Utah? Really?
Forbes reported yesterday that Republican stronghold Utah has voted to approve medical marijuana by a vote of 53% to 47%. Utah is one of the most conservative states in the US and seemed the most unlikely to change its drug laws.
According to a Salt Lake City, Utah defence lawyer, Utah’s cannabis laws are pretty tight.
For selling cannabis:
At the second-degree felony level, a marijuana conviction in Utah carries the possibility of up to 15 years in prison and a $19,000 fine (including surcharge). Marijuana possession can be filed as a second degree felony under the following circumstances: possession with the intent to distribute within a drug-free zone; actual distribution of marijuana within a drug-free zone; or possession of more than 100 pounds of marijuana (regardless of intent).
For possesion of cannabis:
A class A misdemeanor marijuana charge is punishable by up to one year in jail and fines up to $4,750 (including surcharge). Marijuana possession can be filed at the class A misdemeanor level if: the amount of marijuana possessed is at least one ounce but less than 16 ounces; or possession of less than one ounce of marijuana in a drug-free zone
In the 2016 election, 27/29 counties in Utah voted Republican.
The Wave Is Spreading
Utah was a close call, but Missouri’s recent vote was a landslide. The state passed initiatives to legalize medical marijuana through Amendment 2, a constitutional amendment to allow medical cannabis which passed by a margin of 66% to 34%.
According to Marijuana Moment, it looks as though Wisconsin is also moving towards medical legalization. In Milwaukee County, voters overwhelmingly supported a nonbinding recreational marijuana referendum by a margin of 70 percent in favor to 30 percent against.
Michigan also recently became the 10th state to legalize rec. cannabis. This brings the total of Americans living in legal cannabis jurisdictions to around 80 million.
“Michigan will be the first state in the Midwest to end marijuana prohibition and replace it with a system in which marijuana is regulated for adult use,” Marijuana Policy Project deputy director Matthew Schweich, who directed the legalization campaign, said in a statement.