The state of California has seen many changes in the last few years. Some changes are for the better and some are not. Whether a change is seen as good or bad many times depends on individual perspectives and experiences. Such is the case with the legalization of marijuana.
For some it was long overdue and for others it was something that should never have happened. In November of 2016 the issue was put on the ballot as a state statute for the voter to decide. Supporters referred to the initiative as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. It was approved.
Proposition 64 allowed adults aged 21 years or older to possess and use marijuana for recreational purposes. The measure created two new taxes, one levied on cultivation and the other on retail price. Prop. 64 was designed to allocate revenue from the taxes to be spent on drug research, treatment, and enforcement, health and safety grants addressing marijuana, youth programs, and preventing environmental damage resulting from illegal marijuana production.
The legalization of marijuana is seen as only a first step towards a full acceptance of the drug for recreational use, much like the use of alcohol is today. Making possession legal will also lead to fewer marijuana related arrest. Advocates view relaxed marijuana laws as a positive step towards keeping virtually innocent people out of the jails which are already overcrowded.
Civil rights groups such as the ACLU see this legalization as a matter of criminal-justice reform, in large part because minorities are disproportionately detained and jailed for cannabis-related offenses.
These reasons are not unique to California with several other states having already led the way by legalized marijuana. As the years go by many expect the trend of legalization to continue leading to the eventual legalization of marijuana nationwide.