Pot legalization advocates seek foothold in Midwest

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Backers of broad marijuana legalization are looking to break through a geographic barrier in November and get their first foothold in the Midwest after a string of election victories in Northeastern and Western states.

Michigan and North Dakota will decide now if the drug should be legal for any adult 21 and older. They would become the 10th and 11th states to legalize so-called recreational marijuana since 2012.

Meantime, Missouri and Utah will weigh medical marijuana — which is permitted in 31 states. Even if Utah's initiative is defeated, a compromise reached between advocates and opponents including the Mormon church will have the Legislature legalize medical marijuana.

“We’ve kind of reached a critical mass of acceptance,” said Rebecca Haffajee, a University of Michigan assistant professor of health management and policy.

She said the country may be at a “breaking point” where change is inevitable at the federal level because so many states are in conflict with U.S. policy that treats marijuana as a controlled substance like heroin.

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