CALIFORNIA: Many people were stunned in 2012 when voters in Colorado and Washington adopted the nation’s first laws making marijuana legal for adults.
Some never thought it would happen. Most knew it would, but didn’t expect it to be so soon. And just about everyone assumed that, if or when it did happen, it would surely happen in California before anywhere else.
The Golden State has long been at the forefront of the marijuana policy reform debate. In 1996, it became the first state to allow marijuana use for medical purposes. In 2010, it fell just a few percentage points short of becoming the first to extend that right to adults 21 and older. And for the past two decades, it has been a major battleground for conflicting state and federal marijuana policies.
While California may not have been one of the first two states to end marijuana prohibition — or even one of the second two; Alaska and Oregon took that honor in November — there is little doubt it will be one of the next.