By Emily Merrell | CALIFORNIA
A law in California kicked in on the New Year allowing anybody 21 or over to grow up to six plants of marijuana, own one ounce, as they join Oregon, Colorado, and New Mexico into recreational pot legalization. California legislature voted on the law in November 2016, which has given many licensed retailers to sell marijuana.
“It’s been so long since people could walk into a place and feel safe and secure and be able to get something good without going into a back alley.” Says Jeff Deakin who waited outside a dispensary with his wife in Oakland before opening.
While the laws are not perfect; no purchasing before 6 AM or after 10 PM, no use in vehicles (even if you’re a passenger), no smoking in public places, etc. this is only one step in a direction towards freedom for drug users.
Marijuana purchasers will also be heavily taxed, as they are in other states where the plant is legalized. California is imposing an increase of 15% tax on all pot sales and in Oakland taxes for pot users will increase from 14.25% to 34.25%. This is creating a 70% increase in marijuana cost overall for users, which will give the state a predicted seven billion dollars in revenue.
While this looks like a step in the right direction, it also isn’t. The state is using the drug to increase taxation which is unnecessary. Yes, marijuana users can now smoke freely in private places. But, they will also have heavy regulation and have to pay a huge price for it. This is the same case in other marijuana legalized states, however, it just proves that the state is here to regulate what we do no matter what.
However, there is one more bright side. The more states that legalize marijuana, the less evil it will look like to the public eye that still alienates it. The people may even start to judge the state more and question its regulations. This is one step in the right direction while giving pot users the right to put what they want in their body. We still have a long way to go, though.