In November 2016, residents of the Golden State voted to legalize marijuana’s recreational use in California. The legislation, known as Proposition 64, decriminalized the cultivation, sale, and use of marijuana for recreational users 21 years and older. In the following year, the state legislature revised existing laws that applied only to medical marijuana use and established new uniform guidelines for medical and recreational sales.
Drug Convictions Down – But So Is Revenue
Sponsors of Proposition 64 hoped that passing this legislation would help efforts to reform the criminal justice system in California, which had been criticized for heavy policing and jailing citizens for minor charges. To date, legal arrests are down. State statistics show that felony arrests for marijuana possession decreased from 1,617 in 2017 to 1,181 in 2019.
Misdemeanor charges also declined, but by a smaller percentage. The state is also working to wipe clean the records of those previously sentenced for marijuana possession and cultivation.
Proponents of the legislation also expected to increase state revenue when legalization was approved, but results have been disappointing. While medical sales had been loosely regulated, retail-based recreational sales in 2018 were met with tighter regulations and higher tax burdens for sellers. Legal sales of marijuana dropped from $3 billion in 2017 to $2.5 billion in 2018 , likely due to sellers’ high regulatory costs and because many retailers have been shut out of 80 percent of the state’s almost 500 municipalities.
But since legalization, California residents are now more open to marijuana use, as described in a 2019 study by BDS Analytics. In 2018, 29 percent of California adults identified as marijuana users, compared to 23 percent the previous year, and people who were less tolerant of cannabis use declined from 40 to 38 percent over the same time period.. If Californians are finding fewer places to purchase marijuana legally, there’s a good chance they’ll turn to the black market. There’s evidence that the illegal marijuana market has expanded due to excessive regulations and taxes, and even though arrests for legal possession of marijuana are down, there’s an uptick in arrests for illegal activity.
Health Effects From Increased Marijuana Use
With changes in attitudes toward marijuana and increased usage, there’s also a risk that more people will abuse the drug. A November 2019 study by the NYU Grossman School of Medicine, found that after recreational marijuana was legalized, problematic use increased across multiple age groups.
Cannabis Use Disorder, as defined by the DSM-IV, includes:
- Increased tolerance to the effects of marijuana
- Social and interpersonal problems related to the use of marijuana
- Unsuccessful attempts to quit using the drug
- Choosing to use marijuana rather than participate in other activities
The study’s authors state that although marijuana may have some positive health benefits, more steps should be taken to communicate both the beneficial and harmful effects of the drug, as well as provide better information about treatment for problematic usage.
Cannabis Use Disorder and California Drug Rehab
If you’ve experienced any of the symptoms of Cannabis Use Disorder, you may need to seek outside help to eliminate your dependence on marijuana. The longer you’ve been using the drug, the more difficult it is to quit. As with other drug dependencies, treatment may begin with detoxification. Following detox, professionals greatly recommend further therapies that teach you how to manage your behavior and develop healthy habits.
At Clear Life Recovery in Costa Mesa, California, drug rehab is tailored to your individual needs. Some people are able to recover with outpatient treatment, while others might require residential care. Some of our services include:
- Men’s Addiction Treatment Program
- Women’s Addiction Treatment Program
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Life Skills Training
- SMART Recovery Programs
Our experienced staff can recommend the program that’s right for you. It’s our goal to equip you with the skills you’ll need for a lasting recovery.
Is it Time To Eliminate Your Weed Habit? Contact a California Drug Rehab Today
If using weed has become problematic for you, take the first step, and contact a member of our caring team. We’ll discuss our programs in greater depth and let you know how our marijuana addiction treatment can work for you.