Marijuana expands into 3 more states

(THE CONVERSATION) — The midterm elections have further loosened marijuana restrictions in the United States. Voters in three of four states with ballot proposals on marijuana approved those initiatives.

In Utah and Missouri, voters on Tuesday decided that patients should have access to medical marijuana.

Michigan, which already had medical marijuana, became the first Midwestern state to fully legalize pot. It joins nine other U.S. states, Washington, D.C., Canada and Uruguay in launching a regulated recreational marijuana market.

North Dakotans decisively rejected a proposal to make marijuana legal for recreational purposes.

Before Tuesday’s vote, 22 American states had adopted comprehensive medical marijuana programs. California was the first, recognizing in 1996 the therapeutic uses of marijuana in easing the symptoms of serious illnesses like HIV, cancer, epilepsy, PTSD and glaucoma. Recently, marijuana’s potential value for treating chronic pain has garnered attention as an alternative to opioids.

New N.D. sen. to farmers: Trump will help you

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Republican Kevin Cramer is assuring North Dakota farmers that as a U.S. senator, he has President Donald Trump's ear on trade.

Cramer said Trump will get them a good — and maybe even a great — deal in trade negotiations with China.

Cramer defeated Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp on Tuesday. Heitcamp cast herself as a champion of farmers in her unsuccessful re-election bid and made trade a centerpiece of her campaign.

She argued the Trump administration got the country into a "misguided trade war."

China is the No. 1 export market for North Dakota soybeans.

North Dakota Soybean Growers Association President Joe Ericson estimated that half of the state's soybean crop this year will have to be put in storage until markets rebound — if they ever do.

California rejects $9B for water projects

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Californians have rejected borrowing nearly $9 billion for water infrastructure improvement projects despite the state suffering from chronic water scarcity.

Proposition 3 lost Tuesday by a narrow margin of less than 3 percentage points. The initiative called for devoting the money to storage and dam repairs, watershed and fisheries improvements, and habitat protection and restoration.

Much of the $8.9 billion was earmarked for conservancies and state parks to restore and protect watersheds, and to nonprofits and local agencies for river parkways.

There also was money for improvements to meet safe drinking water standards.

The measure was backed by agricultural and water associations and groups devoted to conserving wetlands, fish and wildlife.

Opponents said it would have benefited special interests while siphoning money from other programs.

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