Industry analysts and observers say California’s vote to legalize recreational marijuana may have the strongest impact on national marijuana policy going forward. The state is the sixth largest economy in the world and wields powerful cultural influence.
“This is the most important moment in the history of the marijuana legalization movement,” Tom Angell, chairman of the advocacy group Marijuana Majority, told Extract in an email statement.
Following Tuesday’s general election, a total of eight states and the District of Columbia will now have legalized marijuana for adult recreational use. Twenty-nine states, plus D.C., have now passed comprehensive medical cannabis laws.
“This vote will dramatically accelerate the end of federal marijuana prohibition. California alone has just added 53 more U.S. House members to the list of federal lawmakers who represent places where marijuana is legal. Last year we came only nine votes shy of winning an amendment to stop federal interference with state marijuana laws. Do the math,” Angell said.
President Obama himself recently admitted that marijuana prohibition isn’t likely to remain “tenable” once the entire Pacific corridor legalizes the drug, and now it has.
“You’ll now have a fifth of the country that’s operating under one set of laws and four-fifths in another. The Justice Department, DEA, FBI, for them to try to straddle and figure out how they’re supposed to enforce laws in some places and not in others, they’re going to guard against transporting these drugs across state lines—you’ve got the entire Pacific Corridor where this is legal. That is not going to be tenable.”
Recreational marijuana is already legal for adult use in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Colorado and the District of Columbia.