Marijuana reform via ballot box continues; Baker Institute available for comment


Jeff Falk

Marijuana reform via ballot box continues; Baker Institute available for comment

HOUSTON — (Nov. 8, 2018) — Marijuana reform is becoming an increasingly winning political issue, according to a drug policy expert at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. Among the outcomes of Tuesday’s midterm elections, Michigan voters approved an initiative to legalize adult use, and Utah and Missouri voters approved legalization of medical marijuana.

Credit: University

Katharine Neill Harris, the Alfred C. Glassell III Fellow in Drug Policy at the institute, is available to discuss these developments and related issues with media.

Voters in Wisconsin and Ohio also indicated their support for measures to reform marijuana laws, Neill Harris said. An initiative to legalize marijuana for adult use in North Dakota was defeated, but the state still allows for medicinal use.

“Several governor races were won by pro-marijuana reform candidates,” Neill Harris said. “In Texas, the defeat of Republican U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions could have national implications. Sessions has been staunchly opposed to marijuana reform and as House Rules Committee chairman has blocked votes on marijuana amendments in Congress. Democratic control of the House could mean movement on marijuana reform at the federal level.”

The latest victories for marijuana at the ballot box continue the trend of voters directly approving reforms instead of waiting for change to occur through the legislative process, Neill Harris said. “Despite public opinion polls consistently showing majority approval for marijuana legalization, elected officials continue to be wary of making significant reforms,” she said. “That could change with the Democratic wins in this midterm election.”


The Baker Institute has a radio and television studio available for media who want to schedule an interview with Neill Harris. For more information, contact Jeff Falk, associate director of national media relations at Rice, at or 713-348-6775.

Related materials:

Neill Harris bio:

Follow the Baker Institute via Twitter @BakerInstitute.

Follow the Drug Policy Program via Twitter @BakerDrugPolicy.

Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.

Founded in 1993, Rice University’s Baker Institute ranks among the top three university-affiliated think tanks in the world. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute conducts research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows, Rice University faculty scholars and staff, coupled with its outreach to the Rice student body through fellow-taught classes — including a public policy course — and student leadership and internship programs. Learn more about the institute at or on the institute’s blog,

About Jeff Falk

Jeff Falk is director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.