California’s new legal marijuana market marks the beginning of the end for prohibition

The federal government has mostly dodged these questions for years. But as more and more states legalize, it’s going to become much harder to deny where this is all going.

Until Election Day 2016, only four relatively small states had done so: Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska. Altogether, these states hold more than 17 million people, and their cumulative annual economic value totals around $1 trillion. In comparison, California alone is home to more than 39 million people and is worth around $2.5 trillion — more than twice as populous and wealthy as all the previous legal pot states combined. As recreational marijuana becomes a legal industry worth tens of billions of dollars, there is suddenly going to be a lot more financial interest in legalization. This is, in fact, what legalization advocates have long expected: The marijuana industry will increasingly play more and more of a role in the drug policy reform movement as legalization spreads. “On some level, we have always known that,” Ethan Nadelmann, former executive director of the pro-legalization Drug Policy Alliance, previously told me. “And I think 2016 may be the last year in which drug policy reform organizations, driven primarily by concerns of civil liberties and civil rights and other good public policy motivations, will be able to significantly shape the legislation. And I assume that as the years progress, various industry forces will loom ever larger.”

Original Article (Vox):
California’s new legal marijuana market marks the beginning of the end for prohibition
Artwork Fair Use: New York Times

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