Legalization in California

by Tyler Lawrence


Cannabis Sativa and the American people’s relationship has always been misguided, misinformed, and misconceived.  From the pre-1937 era of industrial hemp processing where production of hemp was encouraged, then discouraged.  All the way to Ronald Raegens administrations war on Drugs .  Until the initiation of the Compassionate care act in 1996 Marijuana was illegal throughout the entire United States.  However many states have begun a slew of new legislation that either decriminalizes, medically legalizes, or even better recreational legalizes marijuana.  However the American people still have many questions due to the years of misleading and deception by the American Government.


With California being the first state to decriminalize 20 years ago many states are now beginning to follow suit.  Colorado and Washington being the first 2 states to fully legalize medical and recreational marijuana. Law Enforcement agencies report seizing less marijuana and now feel they have time to pursue investigations on large drug gangs, rather than trying to pursue multiple unconnected small marijuana vendors. The New York times article that pulled my focus was entitled: Legal Marijuana Sales hit $5.4 Billlion by Christine Hauser.  The article discussed the immense amount of revenue generated from the legal marijuana industry.  According to the article: “Marijuana has become a gold rush. National legal sales of cannabis grew to $5.4 billion in 2015, up from $4.6 billion in 2014, according to the firms, the ArcView Group.”  The cannabis industry has grown nearly 1 billion dollars in a single year.  The Arcview group is the leading cannabis investment firm in the industry today.   Being a business major It interests me to see the amount of money flowing in and out of the industry.  This influx has given marijuana a true name in the business world. While legalization grows so does the industry surrounding marijuana. From packaging, quality testing labs, and grow materials. As of today, 23 states have legalized some form of marijuana use. 5 have legalized fully recreational use. With these states now seeing marijuana as a big business opportunity. Many celebrities have used their status to create cannabis infused or based products. For example Snoop Dogg now endorses his own hand-selected brand of signature marijuana called Leafs by Snoop.


When doing my research I also saw another very informative article entitled: “In a new year of marijuana, New York smokers get bolder.” by Sarah Maslin NR. The article essentially explains the American people’s attitude towards the use of marijuana. “street smokers say they are emboldened by laws that have legalized the recreational use of marijuana in other parts of the country and by the relatively low-key comments by New York’s leaders” Many people are now seeing the benignity of cannabis. While others still hold their traditional views. The ones who openly consume cannabis are believed to be another one of New York’s backpacking population. What I mean by backpacking population is the vast majority of people who come to New York, to “make it in the big city.” These people who come to New York from out of state generally bring their values and ideologies with them. For example while open-air marijuana consumption is under the same guidelines as a second level marijuana possession charge. However many California natives residing in New York say the frankly don’t care. According to the NY times: “Now, Mr. Jay, who works in catering, said he smoked in public with a sense of impunity. “Here in New York City, because we know it’s legal in other states, we kind of have that feeling the legalization of marijuana is spreading across the nation, and it’s going to come regardless,” are not fearful of the laws they tell reporters that New York sensible drug policy is becoming more and more common so the laws will change soon. Many people that are against marijuana consumption in public say they don’t want people to smoke “pot” in their vicinity. Middle-age New York resident says that she smells the marijuana near pre-schools and on the street. She believes the increase in consumption is due to the influx of immigration of California “yuppies.” She says that when she smells it she often feels light headed. On the positive side arrest for marijuana have reduced in New York city going from 26,000 arrests to a mere 12,500 the following year. Marijuana arrests have been cut in half now it is amazing how much the government has saved. I believe I can use the topic of marijuana legalization for my essay because there is so much to discuss in regards to marijuana.


Hauser, Christine. “Legal Marijuana Sales Hit $5.4 Billion in 2015, Report Says.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 04 Feb. 2016. Web. 17 Apr. 2016.

Nir, Sarah Maslin. “In New Era for Marijuana, New York Smokers Get Bolder.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 14 Dec. 2015. Web. 17 Apr. 2016