Marijuana Legalization
June 4, 2018
Will the federal government reduce pot restrictions?

Several states this past year joined a growing list that regulate or plan to regulate recreational cannabis for adults. Nearly two thirds of voters support legalization for adult recreational use, a move seven states and the District of Columbia have taken since Colorado and Washington became the first to legalize recreational use in 2012. In addition, nearly 30 states and the District have legalized the medical use of marijuana. Recently, some federal lawmakers have proposed decriminalizing marijuana, and the White House said it will not crack down on states where pot is legal. In April the Food and Drug Administration for the first time accepted public feedback about possibly removing cannabis from the federal government’s list of banned substances.

A customer smells a cannabis product on Jan. 2, 2018, at MedMen, a Los Angeles-area pot shop that began selling marijuana for recreational use under a new state law. (Getty Images/David McNew)   A customer smells a cannabis product on Jan. 2, 2018, at MedMen, a Los Angeles-area pot shop that began selling marijuana for recreational use under a new state law. (Getty Images/David McNew)

Marijuana became legal for recreational use in California on Jan. 1, and the state collected about $34 million in taxes on the drug in the first three months. State analysts initially projected $175 million in revenue during the first six months of 2018, but said in May that the total will likely be lower based on the results of the first quarter. 1 Critics have blamed the market’s stunted growth on high state taxes on the drug and slow licensing of dispensaries and growers. The limited supply and retail options have forced California consumers to turn to the black market, the critics say. 2

Also restricting availability: California localities can ban marijuana sales in their jurisdictions. Thus, fewer than a third of California’s cities and only 18 of its 58 counties permit cannabis businesses in jurisdictions without their own municipal government. 3

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