Political Issue of the Issue: Marijuana is legalized

Brian Figg, Head Copy Editor

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On New Year’s Day, the state of California officially licensed the legal sale of recreational cannabis products for adults over the age of 21. California has joined seven other districts or states that have implemented these measures. The scale of these legal dispensaries are limited as cities and counties can pass laws prohibiting the sale. In the city of Santa Clarita, storefront dispensaries are illegal despite the passing of the state law.

Medicinal marijuana has been legal in California for over 20 years, but different groups anticipate both negative and positive impacts of legal recreational sales. The fifteen percent tax on cannabis products will largely go towards education and law enforcement to stop the black market sale of the drug. The opposition worries of drivers under the influence of marijuana and of the drug being more readily available to minors.

In the eyes of the federal government, all forms of marijuana are illegal in the United States. For this reason, most banks will not do business with growers or dispensaries.

Transportation of any marijuana on interstate highways is illegal, and federal law enforcement views legal dispensaries in the state as large-scale, illegal drug dealers. Businesses that are raided have dismal legal recourse since they have no claims to legal operation in the eyes of the United States government.

The legalization of recreational marijuana for adults will mean lighter sentencing for drug charges that are nonviolent crimes. Only time will tell the effect of marijuana sales on the state of California.

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Political Issue of the Issue: Marijuana is legalized