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California Votes To Legalize Marijuana

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California legalized marijuana for recreation use as voters passed a legalization measure by a wide margin.

Proposition 64 allows Californians over the age of 21 to buy and use marijuana in amounts of up to one ounce, and allows people to grow up to six marijuana plants at home. The measure passed 55.8 percent to 44.2 percent, according to The New York Times.

“I think of this victory in California as a major victory,” Lauren Mendelsohn, chairwoman of the board of directors of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, an anti-war on drugs group, told The New York Times. “It shows the whole country that prohibition is not the answer to the marijuana question.”

The measure puts a 15 percent sales tax on marijuana purchases, as well as a $9.25 per ounce tax for flowers and $2.75 per ounce for leaves, reported the Los Angeles Times.

Those tax dollars are expected to go toward studying the effects of the legalization measure, as well as studying and funding drug abuse treatment.

Although California voters passed the measure, law enforcement groups were unhappy with the outcome.

“We are, of course, disappointed that the self-serving moneyed interests behind this marijuana business plan prevailed at the cost of public health, safety, and the well-being of our communities,” said Chief Ken Corney, president of the California Police Chiefs Association, according to The New York Times.

But that attitude toward marijuana appears to be waning across the nation.

In addition to California, marijuana legalization for recreational use measures passed in Massachusetts and Nevada, reported The Washington Post, bringing the total number of states with legal pot to seven, as well as the District of Columbia, according to Lifehacker.

“This represents a monumental victory for the marijuana reform movement,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, reported The Washington Post. “With California’s leadership now, the end of marijuana prohibition nationally, and even internationally, is fast approaching.” 

Sources: The New York Times, Los Angeles Times (2), The Washington Post, Lifehacker / Photo credit: Katherine Hitt/Flickr

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