Is Marijuana the Next Big Tobacco

East Bay Times
by Margaret Lavin

California was the first state to legalize marijuana for medical use in 1996. In 2010, Proposition 19 would have made California the first state to legalize nonmedical marijuana, but voters defeated the measure by a 53.5-46.5 margin. However, lawmakers will try again. There are two major initiatives that have a very good chance of qualifying for the November ballot due to their financial backing and political support.

Researchers at UC San Francisco (UCSF) recently released a new report that evaluates the retail marijuana legalization proposals in California from a public health standard. According to the study, recreational marijuana will likely lead to a new profit-driven industry similar to Big Tobacco that could impede public health efforts.

Researchers said they began their study with the premise that legalizing marijuana makes sense because its prohibition has caused excessive incarcerations and cost taxpayers too much money. However, they concluded that legalized recreational marijuana would replace a crime problem with a public health issue.

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