Six Ways Momentum Is Building Against Pot Criminalization

Five months ago, two states passed ballot initiatives to legalize small amounts of marijuana and regulate it like alcohol. Since then, public opinion and momentum have continued to build away from criminalization. New awareness about the failed War on Drugs, the violence that accompanies illicit marijuana sales, and overly harsh sentences have sparked a movement that saw its culmination this weekend, as legalization advocates around the country celebrated victories and vied for reform on 4/20, in spite of one unfortunate violent incident in Denver. The following are some of the developments that have occurred since the November 6 election:

In spite of all these markers of progress, it is still unclear how federal officials will respond to state legalization measures. But their approach to state medical marijuana laws may be some indication. Just this week, the Drug Enforcement Administration raided several more Los Angeles marijuana dispensaries. Federal prosecutors have already shuttered dozens of city businesses that obtained local permits.