On June 28 of 2016, California’s Secretary of State, Alex Padilla, revealed the initiative to make recreational marijuana legal in the state of California has enough votes to be placed on the ballot in November. The initiative did not happen overnight. There have been many attempts so far. While it has yet to be voted on, potential voters have never been more sure of success.
In 1996, California became the first state to legalize marijuana for medical purposes. At first, it was argued that marijuana had no medical benefits, therefore it could be classified as a Schedule I controlled substance. It still is on the Federal level but, starting with California, states have begun to consider its medical benefits. Since California broke down the door, 24 more states have marched through the threshold along with Washington D.C. Louisiana and Florida having recently passed legislation which is pending. With the majority of states now considering medical marijuana legal and more being added every year, we may be in a unique situation soon where marijuana may be considered legal in every state yet not in the country (federal level).
Efforts to legalize marijuana for enjoyment have been ongoing even before medical marijuana. In 2010, California had a close call with Proposition 19, an initiative that would have allowed the use of marijuana for non-medical purposes. So what’s the difference between non-medical and medical use? Well, many have heard of the chemical delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is the psychoactive ingredient in the plant that makes us experience the “high” whenever we smoke, cook or whatever method we use to ingest THC. The lesser known chemical is Cannabidiol (CBD). This is the chemical that helps cancer patients deal with the nausea of chemotherapy. At first, medical marijuana was taken in its raw state so a patient would receive amounts of both chemicals. Now there are options for a patient to receive either one or the other depending on the products they choose.
Since the failed passing of Proposition 19, other states have legalized recreational marijuana beating California to the punch. Colorado and Washington were first to allow the recreational sale of marijuana. Alaska, Oregon and Washington, DC soon followed. Now, other states are queuing up their own legislation to be get on the band wagon.
Thanks to modern science, dispensaries are now able to dispense both recreational and medical marijuana as different products. THC is low in medical marijuana while CBD is low in recreational marijuana. Each joint is labeled with the percentage amount of chemicals it contains so you can select the strength of the high you are wanting or one more geared to combating nausea.
A lot has happened in six years. Four states and DC all have beaten California to the punch. This time around, supporters have amassed more than $3 1/2 million. Opponents are more around $100,000. Polls are showing 60 percent for and 37 percent against. Numbers don’t lie. It looks like California’s time will be coming in November.