And then there’s the money. Part of the reason voters like legalizing weed is the demonstrated impact it can have on the economy. After Colorado legalized weed, the state gave the tax dollars from weed sales to their public school systems to the tune of $160 million in the first five years. The states that are joining Colorado can expect to see a similar economic boom from the legalized, taxed, and regulated sale of the drug.
Still, like any substance, it’s important that if you live in a state that has now or recently legalized marijuana to keep anything safely locked, stored, and out of sight and reach of your children. It’s also important to, just like alcohol, not partake in the drugs around your children, because of the mental, emotional, and social effects, along with the unknown physical health effects.
Legalization of weed is happening all over the country. This map shows where.
But it does seem that prohibition tends to be an inadequate public health response to drug use, and that legalization and decriminalization can help both remove the taboo of a drug, increase the amount of research put into the safety of that drug, and help people access that drug at a lower risk, as they’re honestly going to buy it no matter how legal or illegal it is. Research has shown time and time again that increasing safe access to potentially harmful substances, rather than restricting access and imprisoning those struggling with substance abuse issues, can help reduce the risk of death, sickness, and addiction.
For parents of color and parents of older teenagers, legalization for people over 21 comes as a positive good in a time where young adults can have their entire careers, lives, and educational futures derailed if they’re caught with a gram of weed on them.
A handful of other states across the country have already legalized and decriminalized the drug for recreational and medical use, suggesting that voters have changed their minds about whether marijuana is a gateway drug and whether people deserve to go to jail for possessing it.
If you live in a state where adult use is legal, you can purchase weed from licensed dispensaries and online.
On top of that, with the cannabis industry being so infantile, regulations have been notoriously confusing, subject to constant change, and overwhelming to the regular consumer.
1. States That Have Legalized Recreational Use
The company’s products are lab-tested. But did not state where the extract was sourced from.
This is why illegal weed is very likely to be full of silent killers like pesticides, heavy metals, and all kinds of other contaminants.
The following vendors have made the cut after a careful process of vetting the market.
Don’t let anyone smell it.
There may also be a binder or a menu that explains the various strains and blends. They tend to have names reminiscent of racehorses—Dairy Queen, Cheesequake, Kandy Apple, Gorilla Glue, Ghost Train Haze, and that old stoner’s standby, Sour Diesel.
After your I.D. passes muster, you’ll be shown to the sales floor, where a clerk stands behind a glass case full of the dispensary’s products. Staff members may handle the product, but you can’t.
Some businesses, particularly in cities, have special permits allowing designated areas for pot smoking, but don’t dare try bringing a stash onto federal lands. Those include military bases and national parks, so don’t attempt a Rocky Mountain National Park Rocky Mountain high unless you want to be convicted of a federal crime, which leaves a mark on your background that can affect your life for years.
Some dispensaries only serve medical clients, but retail dispensaries are open to the public. Use PotGuide or Weedmaps to locate a facility and call ahead or check the website of the business to verify that it is open to public sales.
To find a business that will sell to visitors, search for “recreational cannabis dispensary.”
How much should you bring? A gram of “bud” or “flower,” the terms for smokeable leaf, will average between $10 and $15.