After the 2018 midterm elections, Michigan became the 10th state, along with the District of Columbia, which voted to legalize marijuana. Although South Dakota voted down a measure to legalize pot, Missouri and Utah voters supported legalizing it for medicinal use. An initiative in North Dakota failed. Recreational marijuana is now legal in 10 states; medical marijuana is legal in 33.
In June, Oklahoma voted to legalize medical marijuana, joining numerous other states that have such laws on the books. In January, Vermont became the first state to legalize marijuana through its legislature rather than a ballot initiative. The governor signed the bill into law.
Marijuana prohibition began 80 years ago when the federal government banned the sale, cultivation, and use of the cannabis plant. It remains illegal at the federal level. Overturning prohibition is one of the few hot-button topics with widespread support. A recent poll by the Pew Center found that 62% of Americans, including 74% of millennials, said they supported legalizing marijuana.
In October, Canada legalized marijuana nationally, becoming the first G7 country to do so. Mexico’s Supreme Court also ruled last month that marijuana prohibition is unconstitutional, paving the way for the country’s new leader, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, to possibly follow Canada’s lead.