The state of California will officially enter the legal marijuana market on January 1, according to ABC News. On Thursday, the state issued its first batch of business licenses that allow holders to sell and transport recreational marijuana.
The move is a confrontation with the Jeff Sessions’-led Justice Department. Under former President Barack Obama, the Justice Department followed a “hands-off” policy with state-level marijuana legalization. Under President Donald Trump, Sessions has free rein to roll back the clock. Details of a meeting with anti-legalization advocates indicate that Sessions is looking for a reason to crack down on state dispensaries.
The American people, however, are just fine with legalizing marijuana – so much so that support even crosses political lines. Minor drug convictions fuel mass incarceration in the United States, particularly impacting the black community and other communities of color.
In California, medical marijuana has been legal for quite some time. The general public widely tolerates Marijuana usage, and legalizing recreational marijuana use was the logical next step. The state passed the measure during the 2016 election.
The 20 temporary licenses issued on Thursday are only a fraction of those expected to follow come 2018. Those already in the marijuana industry are ready to break the stigma surrounding the pot industry.
Tony Hall, medical marijuana shop owner, said:
“The taboo part is slowly going to be removed and this is going to be like any other business.”
In California, the drug will be treated like alcohol. Those over 21 will be allowed to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and grow six of their own plants at home. There is a transition period expected as laws and regulations catch up with the legalization.
Perhaps the best part about California’s decision is the revenue that the industry will rake in for the state. More revenue equals more money to put back into integral state programs.
Let’s hope that Sessions keeps his hands off.
Featured Image Via YouTube Video.