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The History of Marijuana Legalization in California

The Poison and Pharmacy Act of 1907 made it illegal to peddle opium, cocaine, and morphine.  An addendum to the act in 1913 added marijuana to the list.  That made California the first state in the union to prohibit the sale of marijuana.  

In 1972 people in the state of California changed their minds and tried to pass Proposition 19.  Prop 19 hoped to decriminalize the sale and possession of weed, however, according to the powers that be “Does the state really want to run the risk of greatly increasing the smoking of marijuana? That, we fear, is what Proposition 19 would do.”  The bill failed with a 66.5% no vote. However, some districts did pass the bill.

George Moscone, the mayor of San Francisco introduced Senate Bill 95 which would downgrade marijuana possession to a misdemeanor.  This was an attempt to lower arrests and the costs of them. The arrest costs were taking its toll on the city and Moscone wanted to fix the problem.

California ended up as the first state in America to legalize medical marijuana in 1996 by passing Proposition 215.  This was a big win for California residents.  We pride ourselves on being leaders when it comes to weed.  However some cannabis activists feel the U.S. public dropped the ball on recreational cannabis feeling like it has been a non-priority with passing a law making it legal for recreational use.

Some far right leaning politicians seem to be unhappy with the new trend of legalizing marijuana recreationally.  However, there have been documented instances of drug enforcement officers finding a way to profit from the cannabis industry after sending countless low level offenders to prison.

On the other side of the coin, it seems if left leaning politicians get their way the whole country will decriminalize marijuana.  “The time to decriminalize marijuana is now,” Chuck Schumer said while introducing a bill that would do just that. “The new Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act is about giving states the freedom to be the laboratories that they should be and give Americans, especially women and minority business owners as well as those convicted of simple possession of marijuana intended for personal use, the opportunity to succeed in today’s economy.  “Schumer also called on his colleagues in the Senate to put politics aside and support the bill simply because it’s “the right thing to do, and I am hopeful that the balanced approach it takes can earn bipartisan support in Congress and across the country.”

Whichever side you might come down on the issue, cities like Denver and Portland are successful examples of cities that have thrived from the legalization of marijuana.  In addition, the FDA recently approved the first cannabis based CBD Oil for public consumption on June 26th 2018, further legitimizing THC and the safety of cannabis, in comparison to other more harmful and extremely physically addictive drugs in the wake of the devastating opioid epidemic.

31 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico now allow for public cannabis and medical marijuana programs.  15 states allow the use of “low THC, high cannabidiol (CBD)” products for medical reasons in limited situations or as a legal defense.

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