California’s recreational cannabis legalisation | The Economist

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Cannabis can now be sold legally for recreational use in California. The change in law in the most populous American state has the potential to make marijuana go mainstream.

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Could California make cannabis go mainstream? California is not the first American state to legalise cannabis recreationally. In Colorado there are more Cannabis dispensaries than Starbucks. Non-medical marijuana sales in the state of Washington have generated over $1bn since 2014.

Countries around the world are also relaxing their laws. Uruguay was the first to legalize recreational cannabis in 2014. Canada is set to follow suit in 2018.

So why is California such a big deal? California is the sixth-largest economy in the world. It already has a booming medical-marijuana economy.

By 2021 California’s cannabis market is projected to grow to $6.5bn. It could be the biggest legal-pot market in the world.

Fears about legalisation have so far proved unfounded. There has been no explosion in consumption or drug-related crime. Billions of dollars have been legitimately earned and taxed. America’s softer stance on cannabis may be changing attitudes in other countries.

Legalisation of marijuana is being debated in parliaments from France to South Africa. Mexico recently legalised medical marijuana and nearly a third of voters in mexico support legalising marijuana for recreational use.

But, legally grown American crops are squeezing drug cartel profits so they’re focusing on harder drugs like methamphetamine and heroin.

Although seven US States have legalised recreational cannabis it is still illegal under federal law. Donald Trump’s administration has suggested it will take a tougher stance on cannabis but the business continues to thrive.

America has been among the strongest advocates of the global war on drugs now it’s taking the biggest steps towards ending it.

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