While four states have already legalized marijuana, all eyes are now on California and a possible ballot initiative for 2016. If California were to legalize pot, 39 million residents in the state could more than double the market of the four current states combined. Legalization of marijuana in California could also change the playing field on a national level, forcing the federal government to take another look at legalizing pot across the board.
A Brief History
California was the first state in the country to make marijuana legal for medicinal purposes in 1996. Since that time, it has inspired many other states to do the same. However, approval for recreational purposes has been a whole different ballgame. California voters took the issue to the ballot in 2010, where it was voted down. Since that time, Colorado and Washington approved legalization for recreational use in 2012, while Oregon and Alaska followed suit two years later.
Now, it looks like legalization will be back on the California ballot in 2016. Other states to consider a similar initiative include Nevada, Massachusetts, Maine and Arizona. However, the spotlight continues to be on California, as the largest state to consider such a move. A spokesperson for a marijuana and investment firm in Oakland, Troy Dayton, told Bloomberg that California comprises nearly half of the legal cannabis market in the country.
The Fight is On
While there is plenty of support for legalized marijuana in California, those on both sides of the issue state the decision is still very much up in the air. Those in favor of legalization have said passage is more likely to occur if proponents include a measure to tax and regulate the industry. Both sides agree success on either front will likely come down to donations, a factor that gives supporters of the bill an advantage. However, opponents will also have a fertile field for garnering votes, particularly if they can recruit help from professionals in education and law enforcement.
At Pasadena Recovery Center, we have seen the devastating effects of marijuana use on our clients and their families. As the most widely used illegal drug in the U.S., marijuana has a number of serious effects on users, including impaired mental ability, altered judgment and an increased risk of heart attack. The drug has also been found to be addictive for some users, necessitating detox efforts as well as treatment and recovery programs.
If you are struggling with marijuana abuse or addiction, help is available. Contact Pasadena Recovery Center at 866-663-3030 to get the help and support you need to deal with your addiction and move forward with your life.