Recreational Cannabis use becomes Legal in California

Recreational Cannabis use becomes Legal in California

Fourteen months after California’s citizens voted for the Proposition 64, this US state has officially legalised the possession of recreational cannabis for adults. Now, anyone who is over 21 years of age can legally possess up to a single ounce of marijuana or grow up to six of these plants in their home. Essentially, the Proposition 64 provided full legalisation of this psychoactive substance, and the lawmakers have since ironed-out the legal and economic aspects. Now, with the New Year starting, it finally became law in this state, meaning California completely decriminalised personal possession and use of this plant.

The ramifications of the legalisation of recreational cannabis are huge and reach well beyond the west coast of the US. As the biggest state concerning its population and a real economic powerhouse on a global level, events in California tend reverberating across the Western world. The legalisation comes in the midst of a political climate that, like its current president, is leaning more towards the conservative outlook. California, however, is a profoundly liberal state that has consistently voted for the Democratic nominees over the past several decades. This is one of the reasons why its citizens were so affirmative to the idea of first decriminalising marijuana for medical purposes. This occurred in 1996 and provided the state with marijuana dispensaries for those who need it for medical reasons.

At the same time, then, just as now, the US government still perceives cannabis and marijuana products are dangerous psychoactive substance. This is why federal laws treat this plant and its part in pretty much the same way as they do heroin or cocaine. However, there is a body of scientific work, both in the US and internationally, that point to many benefits of marijuana. They also point to very few downsides when compared to already legal psychoactive substances like alcohol.

It appears that the same became apparent to the majority of the Californians who voted for the Proposition 64. Now, California will join Colorado and other US states that have completely legalised marijuana. While those who have opposed this proposition claiming that it will bring more young people to the same drug and elevate incidents of driving under the influence, the science behind these claims is just not there. Instead, most recognise that just like with alcohol, there is a need for personal responsibility that should have nothing to do with a country or its laws.

Additionally, there is also the economic aspect of this change. Like the case of Colorado shows, a state can profit immensely from legal sales of marijuana. The benefits of the same business field are more than apparent in Denver and other big cities in the area. Now, with California’s economic potential, the gains from these newly-legal ventures will be huge. In fact, some believe that the recreational cannabis industry will become worth tens of billions of US dollars in less than a decade from now. 

Because of all of this, there is little doubt that the Proposition 64 will usher in a new age for the citizens of California. As the industry around recreational cannabis grows so will the potential for other places to assess this possibility and legalise this plant and its products.