Light up freely!

A stronger scent of marijuana than usual could mark the start of 2018 in California, where many will light their joints to celebrate authorized cannabis sales for recreational purposes in the state, the largest consumer in the United States.

This historic day came more than two decades after California paved the way to decriminalization by becoming the first state in the country to pass a law authorizing the medical use of marijuana, although other entities later won in legalizing recreational use of the drug.

From the small town of Shasta Lake, just south of Oregon, to San Diego on the border with Mexico, about 90 stores will be the first with state permits, which will sell marijuana to customers once they had to resort to retail. medical receipts or traffickers to get it.

In November 2016, California voters voted to decriminalize the recreational use of marijuana among adults 21 years of age and older, and it is permissible for people to grow six plants and own 28 grams (one ounce) of speck. The state has one year to establish regulations for the cannabis retail market, which continue to be elaborated and will be completed in phases in a year.

“We are excited,” said Jalil Moutawakkil, founder of KindPeoples, which grows marijuana, makes cannabis products and sells them in Santa Cruz. “We can talk about the good, the bad and the ugly of the specific rules, but in the end it’s a giant breakthrough, and we’ll have to solve the problems on the fly.”

This long and strange journey that has reached this point was not without frustration for the defenders of marijuana, which the federal government continues to consider an illegal drug almost on par with heroin.

California banned in 1913 marijuana, which was then referred to as “loco-weed” (yerbaloca), according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML for its acronym in English), which supports legalization. The first attempt to decriminalize the yerba in 1972 at the polls failed, but three years later the possession of less than one ounce (28 grams) went from a felony to a misdemeanor.

In 1996, over and above the objections of the police, the anti-drug czar of President Bill Clinton and three ex-claimants who had warned that marijuana represented a huge threat to the public health of “all Americans,” California voters approved the use of marijuana. of marijuana for therapeutic purposes.

Although the groups of growers and dispensaries authorized to sell marijuana sometimes had difficult times, the law led to greater acceptance of the drug as medicine.

“Heaven did not break down,” said Dale Gieringer, director of NORML in California. “We did not see the increase in drug abuse among young people, nor the number of accidents nor the follies that our opponents had predicted.”

Currently, 28 other states have passed similar laws. In 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first to legalize the sale of marijuana for playful consumption. California is one of five states, in addition to Washington, DC, that did the same. Retail sales will begin in July in Massachusetts.

With the increased acceptance of marijuana, the classic aroma became more common in various parts of California, where its consumption accelerated after the vote to decriminalize it.

The Association of Police Chiefs of California, which opposed the measure at the polls, remains concerned about marijuana drivers, the appeal of grass to young people as it becomes more normal, and the cost of surveillance of the new regulations as well as the existing black market.

Source AP