Up and down the Western Hemisphere, marijuana policy is a growing topic of discussion, and laws are starting to change. In 2014, retail marijuana stores opened in the states of Colorado and Washington, where anyone over 21 years old can purchase a wide variety of marijuana products.
Legalising the medical use of cannabis has not led to a surge in the numbers of adolescents using it in the USA, according to new research that surprised its authors and will encourage those hoping for relaxation of the law elsewhere.
Dozens of government officials and researchers from a half-dozen U.S. states and a few countries that have legalized marijuana or are at least thinking about it are gathering in Washington state this week for meetings focused largely on one question: How do we know if it’s working? Organizers say it’s crucial to get a better handle on what data are being collected about the impacts of legalization and to consider what further research is needed.
Propelled by successful campaigns in Western states to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, some advocates and legislators say a marijuana legalization race is developing in New England, with millions of dollars in tax revenue riding on the outcome.
California lawmakers are wading into the politically sticky issue of regulating medical marijuana, laying groundwork for state control of the sale and cultivation of cannabis with the expectation that voters will legalize recreational use next year.
For the first time, the General Social Survey – a large, national survey conducted every two years and widely considered to represent the gold standard for public opinion research – shows a majority of Americans favoring the legalization of marijuana.
Four states and the District of Columbia have already legalized weed and plans are already afoot in several more for this year or next, either by voter initiative (where that option is available) or through the legislature. But which states will be next, and how fast will the dominoes fall? After all, we're unlikely to see the end of federal pot prohibition until a lot more than four states have legalized it, so how long is it going to take to reach that critical mass? (See also: 7 states that are next in line to legalize marijuana)