Cannabis had been federally prohibited for several decades before public attitudes towards marijuana started changing in the late nighties. As drug reform advocates championed for marijuana legalization, more and more states legalized marijuana with the aim of earning tax revenue from cannabis sales, edging out the illicit market and repairing the damage done by the decades’ long war on drugs.
However, a few years after a number of state-legal cannabis programs were launched, it has emerged that they aren’t as effective as projected. Despite bringing in millions of dollars in tax revenue, states like Colorado and California have had a hard time pulling clientele from the illicit market. Similarly, Los Angeles has had such a troubling legal marijuana program that a City Council Committee has approved a series of changes to it.
The city was once seen as a potential showcase for the budding cannabis industry, but the reality does not measure up to the vision. The illicit market still thrives and licensed shops have repeatedly stated that everything costs too much and it takes too long to deal with City Hall. To make matters worse, the programs designed to help communities that had been unfairly targeted by the decades’ long war on drugs have been slow to take shape.