West Coast vs. East Coast Reform Advocacy in the U.S.

Patchwork marijuana laws have made the U.S. feel like two different countries–one where legalization has paved the way for recreational use, and another where local law enforcement agencies continue to invest in the investigation and prosecution of marijuana crimes.

A well-known and respected travel writer who is also a proponent of marijuana reform, has written extensively about legalization in regions such as the Netherlands and in countries like Portugal. Rick Steves is now applying his passions for travel and reform in the United States.

In a recent interview with SFGate, the writer and reform advocate explains how two polarized views of marijuana reform have made laws vary so greatly throughout the country. According to Steves, there are two coasts: One which has embraced reform and another that is trailing behind.

There is a huge distinction between laws, which is represented in all facets of society and business. Throughout Colorado, Washington, Alaska, and Oregon, there are business seminars are seeking to attract marijuana entrepreneurs and investors. Like many reform advocates, Steves is focused on the civil rights issue of reform, rather than the business side. Rather than building a multi- billion dollar industry, he hopes one day people can simply grow their own pot, and won’t be locked up.

According to Steves, the big business model of marijuana reform shouldn’t be surprising in America. In the event of federal decriminalization and legalization, small growing operations and individuals should expect big business to swoop in. Given the very divided stance on reform, how marijuana becomes legal is likely to evolve differently on the West Coast than on the East Coast. Once California legalizes marijuana, other states will likely follow suit. According to the experienced travel author, prohibition of marijuana is clearly on the way out.

As a best-selling travel author and television personality, Steves has maintained a platform for reform and co-sponsored the Washington 2012 initiative to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana. He also toured Oregon speaking in favor of legalization throughout 2014. With experience in how legalization is working, he is also making an appearance at the International Cannabis Business Conference to discuss strategies. The author also points out the American public is ahead of politicians on the issue, and the majority of Americans favor legalization, even though Congress has not acted.

There are reform advocates in California and nationwide, working hard to see marijuana legalized for medical use and recreation. Some simply want to know that possession and sale are decriminalized so that users don’t get locked up for a marijuana offense. Our Orange County marijuana attorneys understand the different positions on this issue and are dedicated to protecting the rights of individual users as well as dispensary owners. While opinions on reform vary in California and nationwide, all residents and tourists should have a clear understanding of their rights and obligations. In the event of a marijuana criminal charge, drug bust, or other arrest, it is important to consult with an experienced drug crimes defense attorney.

The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 949-375-4734.

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