California Becomes Largest State to Legalize Marijuana
California has become the largest American state to legalize the sale of marijuana.
The new law took effect on New Year’s Day. California voters approved a measure to legalize the drug in November 2016.
The law permits adults, 21 years and older, to possess as much as 28 grams of marijuana. It also permits people to grow up to six marijuana plants at home.
California is the sixth U.S. state – along with the nation’s capital Washington D.C. – to legalize recreational marijuana.
California became the first American state to approve marijuana use for medical purposes in 1996. At least 29 U.S. states now permit the use of medical marijuana. Maine and Massachusetts are expected to legalize recreational marijuana in 2018.
The federal government still considers the sale and possession of marijuana a CRIme. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is an opponent of legalizing marijuana. He said in November that he is taking a close look at federal enforcement of anti-drug laws that include marijuana.
Chris Lindsey is with the Marijuana Policy Project, which seeks marijuana policy reforms in U.S. states. He says the federal government remains limited in how it can intervene in state laws.
“While Jeff Sessions may not like the fact that states have taken this path, they have. And there’s very little that the federal government’s going to be able to do to compel the state to basically re-implement prohibition.“