Marijuana And State Budgets: Now What?

The public's opinion is changing, as is the federal government's.

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The Justice Department will no longer go after medical marijuana users in states where the substance is partially legal. At about the same time as the Obama administration made headlines for that move, Gallup announced that a recent poll has found the greatest-ever number of Americans in support of legalizing marijuana.

But still, marijuana activists in California, a state with dire budget problems, have been unable to succeed in a long effort to regulate and tax marijuana to raise money for the state. (see previous post here).

Baby steps toward state-wide legalization might come in the form of tax increases for medical marijuana at the local level (PBS reports here). If those policies prove to be big windfalls for those towns, the state legislature will probably take notice.

No one knows which (if any) states will be the first to take this step, but the idea is certainly getting more popular: A committee in the Massachusetts legislature just entertained the notion of creating a taxable cannabis market.