The Evolution of Marijuana Culture

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Marijuana regulation has changed radically over the last few years. Voters in Washington State and Colorado legalized marijuana in the 2012 election, and, with a prescription, almost any Californian can walk into a dispensary and buy the substance. With changing policies come new challenges regarding the economics and culture of marijuana. 

First, a regulatory angle. Six months ago, Washington and Colorado became the first states to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. While legalization itself was a struggle for its proponents, the work for implementing the laws is perhaps more complicated.

Washington State Representative Roger Goodman pointed out in a recent meeting that there are no clear answers for how to regulate the recreational use of marijuana.

Creating a safe and legal market for pot, while navigating federal law, which expressly forbids the use of marijuana, is a daunting task, and something that’s never been done before. Austin Jenkins, statehouse reporter for our partner KUOW, in Olympia Washington, explains the implementation of Washington state’s legalization law.

And then we look at the economic angle. Dealers who once made their money on the wrong side of the law are finding their way in a quickly-changing industry. Marianne McCune, reporter for Takeaway co-producer WNYC, caught up with one California dealer who decided to move east, to sell marijuana where it’s still illegal, and therefore more expensive, in New York City.

Finally, dealers like the on McCune interviews have found ready customers in New York City high schools. Two of Takeaway co-producer's WNYC’s Radio Rookies, Temityao Fagbenle and Gemma Weiner, look at pot culture in two different high schools in the city: one public and one private. They compare the way teenagers buy and use marijuana, and the major differences in how schools deal with students who are caught with the substance.