The state of Washington, located on the western coast of the United States, is one of the few states that has legalized cannabis – both for medical and recreational purposes. The legalization of using cannabis in the state of Washington provided a $1 billion income to the state’s government. Prior to its legalization for recreational use in 2012, cannabis is being ordered by its users from the black market. However, the state sees the cannabis trade as an opportunity to earn a huge profit, and the state government decided that they would legalize cannabis for recreational use. However, there are still rules and regulations that the public should follow, including the prohibition of the plant to anyone who is under 21 years of age.
Back in the 1920s, Washington has a strict law surrounding the cultivation and sale of cannabis. The cannabis plant is recognized as a narcotic back then, and people who are caught possessing the drug could face a decade inside the prison. However, the public has little knowledge about the plant, and most are unaware of the effects that it has on the body. One of the probable reasons why cannabis was banned on the West Coast is because of its affiliation with the migrants from Latin America. There have been news stories published all over the United States stating that cannabis makes Latin American people go mad, attributing to the high crime rate committed by the Latino community. Many people had a negative perception of cannabis after sensationalized news stories dominated the press.
Decades after its first prohibition in the 1920s, cannabis started to gain traction as a common drug in the 1960s. Most washington state cannabis laws were proposed in the 1970s, with the aim of punishing everyone using it and selling it, because of its potentially destructive nature to health and society. However, the stance of the state government changed in 1998, when they decided that cannabis should be used for medical purposes. This led to the calls from the public to legalize cannabis and make it also available for recreational use. As the public continues to support the law legalizing the plant, the state police started to review their priorities and decided not to apprehend people who are possessing cannabis. The public is also actively participating in surveys, stating that they are in favor of decriminalizing the use and possession of the drug.
The government finally decided on 2012 that they would be legalizing cannabis, and many groups and organizations within the state supported the move. Currently, people who are possessing up to 28 grams of cannabis would not be apprehended by law enforcers. The laws applied to the medical use of cannabis also stay the same. However, handing out cannabis to other people and cultivating the plant is still prohibited. The legalization of cannabis started to gain a positive impact in the state’s economy, and it ultimately led to more than $1 billion profit for the state. Many people have also applied for licenses to sell cannabis, turning it into a lucrative business.