In 1996, California became the first state to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes with the passage of Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act. Now, in 2022, recreational marijuana use is fully legal within California for individuals 21 years of age and over. This report will outline the current and potential impacts of these policies.
The purpose of this report is to describe the impacts that have arisen from the legalization of marijuana for both medical and recreational use in California. By gathering and examining data, citizens and policymakers can better understand the implications and effects of marijuana’s increased presence in California.
Due to concerns about public health risks and other possible impacts of marijuana, there is an on-going debate in the United States regarding the effects of the increasing prevalence of marijuana in our society.
Some common arguments for the legalization of marijuana use include:
• Marijuana legalization would eliminate arrests for possession and sale, resulting in fewer citizens with criminal records and a reduction in the incarcerated population.
• Legalization frees up law enforcement resources to target more serious and violent crimes.
• Legalization would reduce the disproportionate incarceration of minorities for possession of small quantities of marijuana.
• Legalization would reduce traffic fatalities since users may switch from alcohol to marijuana.
• Legalization would increase tax revenue from sales.
• Legalization would reduce profits for drug cartels trafficking marijuana.