In the November Colorado and Washington passed legislation that will make recreational marijuana legal, leaving the two states to navigate the issues of enforcing state laws that are different from federal laws. Marijuana may be legal on a state level, but it’s still outlawed by the federal government.
In California, where medical marijuana is already legal, and the punishment for being caught with recreational marijuana is relatively lax, the drug is everywhere. California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom expressed his support for reforms to California marijuana laws, saying. “It’s shocking, from my perspective, the number of people that we all know who are recreational marijuana users… these are incredibly upstanding citizens: Leaders in our community, and exceptional people. Increasingly, people are willing to share how they use it and not be ashamed of it.”
Should California adopt marijuana laws that more accurately reflect citizen’s attitudes towards the drug? What difference would such laws make, considering marijuana’s current status in the state? How could it benefit or harm California to be a leader in drug law reform?
Bruce Margolin, California NORML Deputy Director