The rise of legal weed in America
A majority of the U.S. population now has access to legalized cannabis in some form. What's the track record so far? Here's everything you need to know:Where is weed legal?
Recreational use is now fully legal in eight states plus Washington, D.C., after voters in California, Massachusetts, Nevada, and Maine approved marijuana ballot initiatives earlier this month. On Election Day, voters in Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota brought the tally of states with legal medical marijuana to 28. Though cannabis is still illegal under federal law, Election Day was widely considered a tipping point for the legalization movement. A recent Gallup poll found that 60 percent of Americans now approve of legalizing marijuana, and there is a growing bipartisan consensus that the $1 trillion war on drugs has failed. Criminalizing the use and sale of drugs has sent millions of nonviolent criminals to prison — a disproportionate number of them black — and empowered violent drug cartels. At the same time, there is growing scientific research showing that casual cannabis use by adults is fairly safe — less dangerous than alcohol or tobacco. Another major factor propelling legalization is that states can tax it and get a big boost in revenues. As one pro-legalization ad in Colorado put it: "Jobs for our people. Money for our schools. Who could ask for more?"
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