January 4, 2019 10:01 am

Perspective: California Legalization Is Lumbering to Life

California’s legal cannabis industry is lumbering to life. But you wouldn’t know it from the groans of the industry and its critics. As the end of the first year of legal cannabis sales in California nears, let’s look back on some major hurdles that were overcome:

  • Criminal justice savings
  • Unprecedented tax revenue
  • Regulation of one of the state’s biggest industries for the first time

Criminal Justice

Cannabis was prohibited in California for more than 80 years before legalization in 2016. At its peak, police made over 100,000 arrests a year for marijuana.

The Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates that the state spent more than $100 million a year on trials and prison cells for pot cases. That’s mostly over.

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