Prop 19 would’ve made the consumption and controlled distribution of marijuana legal in California according to state law. The proposition failed when it was put on the November 2010 ballot, however, with roughly 54% of voters against it and 46% for it. But the move to make marijuana more than just medicinal in California isn’t going away. It’s certain those who battled to get Prop 19 passed will try again. The effort will inevitably succeed: polls conducted in the Golden State have indicated a steady increase in those accepting of making weed legal or at least decriminalizing it for more than a decade. When it does pass, what will be the effects in the state’s rate of tourism?
There’s no doubt that if all Americans were capable of legally consuming cannabis in one state and one state only, it would ignite an onslaught of outside visitors. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health 25.8 million Americans consume cannabis at least annually and more than 16 million Americans smoke marijuana monthly. There’s really no way these individuals would deny themselves the luxury of taking the drug legally, as well as explore all of the marijuana “enhancements” a state where the drug has been legalized can offer: paraphernalia, culinary infusion, et cetera.
This is especially the case when you consider California’s preexisting lures of tourism. Napa wine country? Try taking tours of marijuana fields, sampling different “buds” at the end of the day. Maybe it’s not your thing, but for millions of Americans it’s the very definition of a good time. But it’s the addition of California’s beauty, the perfect temperatures, world renowned cities, and historical stature that makes the potential for a marijuana tourism boom to really bolster the weakening west coast economy. People won’t just journey into California to experiment with the novelty of legalized cannabis; they’ll want to see one of the most famous geographical locations on the planet.
Californians who sill view the legalization of cannabis in their state – the nine percent that chose to bury Prop 19 – should seriously consider the ramifications for the introduction of a new industry in their state. It’ll bring people, who bring money. California has endless beauty and represents the ideal notion of American possibility, yet the state’s economy is more than at a standstill; it teeters on the edge of a cliff. Millions of visitors could mean billions of dollars.
The money to be made will eventually make the interest to keep California cannabis legal only for those who receive medical permission to consume it an impossible case to make. Scientific evidence overwhelmingly indicates that marijuana is virtually harmless to the human body. Economic evidence indicates marijuana is virtually a saving grace for the California tourism industry. When the day comes when California makes cannabis legal for all, the biggest problem might be making sure there’s enough for everybody.