California: Recreational Marijuana Now Legal
By Derrick Stanley
Recreational marijuana is now legal in California. Maine, Nevada, and Massachusetts also legalized recreational marijuana, but the size and population of California puts its decision in a different league and it could lead the way to figuring out policy around the drug.
While the recreational marijuana initiative in Arizona failed, several other states voted on medical marijuana. North Dakota, Montana, Arkansas and Florida all approved medical marijuana.
60 percent of Americans support legalizing weed, up from 31 percent in 2000. California is the state with the largest economy and — now that it has legalized cannabis — the national weed industry has tripled in size.
California’s marijuana industry could be bigger than its famed wine businesses. The market for both recreational and medicinal marijuana is now projected to grow to $22 billion by 2020, up from $7 billion this year.
This may also put a lot more pressure on the federal government to lift its ban of the drug. The Drug Enforcement Administration has long classified cannabis as a Schedule I controlled substance, the most restrictive classification. This means it’s in the same category as heroin and LSD. Just this August, the DEA rejected an appeal to stop classifying cannabis as Schedule I drug.
It’s unknown how much will get done with Trump in office. He told the Washington Post that it’s an issue that should be left up to the states, but his ally Chris Christie is very much against legalization. This could be a problem given that Christie will probably get a top job in the Trump administration.
This election has been a tipping point for marijuana.The national conversation will increasingly focus on the health effects of weed, how best to regulate the suppliers and businesses, and the consequences for public health.