Currently, the state of California only permits the legal use of marijuana for medical purposes. All other uses are currently considered drug crimes. But backers like The Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform are making serious progress in their ReformCA movement, and they hope to have the initiative in front of voters on the November 2016 election ballot. But is it really possible for California to join the states of Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Colorado in the legalization of recreational marijuana?
The Cost of Legalizing Marijuana in California
Before marijuana legalization can go before voters, language for the proposition must be written. According to the Coalition, the first round should circulate within “days.” From there, the language will be edited and then circulated again to reflect any changes. Signatures will then need to be collected in order to get the proposition on a ballot. LA Weekly estimated it could take more than three million dollars in paid signature gatherer wages, just to make sure they get enough. But even then, they will have to overcome the stigmas and concerns of voters before the bill can pass.
Possible Effects of Legalized Marijuana Use
When considering what effects the legalization of recreational marijuana may have on the state of California, it is important to look at the current situation for states in which it is already legalized. The results are mixed, muddled to some extent by opinions, but also still a bit obscure because of limited time on the collection of data.
In the state of Colorado, one of the first to legalize marijuana for recreational use, issues like unsafe pesticides, worries over the spread of mold and fungi from the cannabis crops, an increase in minor usage and intoxicated driving (and the problems that come with it), an uptick in hospital visits where children and animals have accidentally ingested marijuana products, and illegal movement of marijuana products to other states where its use is not legalized are reported problems experienced since the proposition passed.
In contrast, Washington state officials report an improved economy, decreased filings for low-level marijuana offenses (including driving offenses), lower rates of violent crimes, and savings in the cost of law enforcement. Additionally, they report stable traffic fatalities since the legalization of recreational marijuana and no increase in the use of marijuana among youths.
Arrested for a Drug Offense?
Regardless of whether or not the proposition makes the ballot or passes, it will still be quite some time before the legalization of recreational marijuana becomes a reality in California. If you have been arrested for a drug offense, contact an experienced Bay Area drug crimes defense attorney immediately. The Law Offices of Thomas Nicholas Cvietkovich can help provide aggressive representation for your drug-related criminal case. To receive a consultation, call (408) 898-9770 today.