Marijuana legalization has passed in Michigan, with Proposal 1 garnering 57.7 percent of the vote, and 53 percent of the precincts responding as of Wednesday morning.
At 11:30 p.m. on Election night, the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol campaign declared victory. Supporters gathered at the Radisson hotel in downtown Lansing Tuesday night to celebrate the win.
“This was a campaign for facts versus fear,” said Josh Hovey, spokesman for the Coalition. “Voters looked at the facts … and were able to make a smart policy decision.”
Michigan is now the 10th state to legalize recreational marijuana in the U.S. — and the first in the Midwest. The law allows for recreational use for adults 21 and over in the privacy of their own homes, and requires the state to create a regulatory structure to license businesses.
The law will take effect after the results of the election are certified by the Board of State Canvassers, which will likely occur in December.
Tim Beck was stunned Tuesday night. Beck has been advocating for marijuana policy reform in Michigan for two decades, and helped get the 2008 medical law on the ballot.
“I’m trying to let it settle in,” Beck said about the win. “This has been my life for 16 years.”
The Mitten state now joins the ranks of Colorado, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Alaska, Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts and Washington D.C. Also Tuesday night, voters in North Dakota were also deciding the fate of a recreational marijuana ballot proposal.
“I’ve been campaigning for it all my life,” said Vaughn Schneider, 75, of Bath Township. “I never thought I’d see it. It’s long overdue.”
To many marijuana advocates, the result of the Tuesday, Nov. 6, election was the end of prohibition.
“I knew it was going to happen, but not this soon,” said Delores Saltzman, 80, of Lake George.
Saltzman has become the face of the Proposal 1 campaign, after she was arrested for marijuana possession at her home in July after her marijuana card expired. After the arrest and serving jail time, Saltzman said she made her peace with the stigma about smoking marijuana and decided to advocate for legalization.
“It’s a weight off of my shoulders,” Saltzman said.