CALIFORNIA: California has the oldest and largest legal marijuana market in the country, bringing in $1.3 billion a year. It’s also the least regulated, allowing for local governments to enforce their own rules at their whims and a thriving underground industry to smuggle the product to other states en masse.
That’s why Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom (D), who recently announced his candidacy for governor in 2018, says it’s essential to begin publicly exploring the issue before a full-scale legalization measure likely shows up on the state ballot next year. On Thursday, a commission helmed by Newsom that’s been researching recreational marijuana in California for the past year and a half released its first progress reportand announced it will begin seeking feedback from the community.
“California has a very mature marijuana industry and it’s just not regulated,” Newsom told The Huffington Post by phone after the report was released. “We’re the worst of all worlds. This report bears out the fact that we haven’t answered a lot of questions.”
California in 1996 became the first state to legalize medical cannabis. In 2010, voters narrowly rejected the country’s first recreational marijuana measure. Since then, four states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational pot, and a poll released this week shows 55 percent of Californians support full-scale legalization in their state.