House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations Chairman John Mica (R-FL) holds a fake hand-rolled cigarette and a list of marijuana offenses during a hearing about drug laws in the Rayburn House Office Building May 9, 2014 in Washington, DC. Mica said the 'joint' was rolled by members of his staff, who he said had more experience in the task. Witnesses testified about the federal government's enforcement of marijuana laws in the face of the district's efforts to decriminalize possession of the drug.
Credit: Chip Somodevilla
Freshly printed copies of the new SF Evergreen, the San Francisco Bay Area's first marijuana-themed monthly newspaper, sit in a bin at the San Francisco Newspaper Printing Company on January 22, 2015 in San Francisco, California. The San Francisco Media Company, the publisher of the San Francisco Examiner and The SF Weekly, is preapring to launch SF Evergreen, San Francisco's first monthly newspaper to cover the cannabis culture and industry. The free paper will be available on January 26.
Credit: Justin Sullivan
Micah Sherman, 32, and Nicole Graf, 28, who moved from Brooklyn NY to cultivate cannabis, care for the 'mother plants' which will seed their 7000 sq feet indoor farm in a warehouse south of Seattle, on March 15, 2014 in Olympia, Washington. Sherman and Graf left good jobs in Brooklyn and invested $600.000 in Raven, which will market high-end cannabis products to aging baby boomers. With legal medical cannabis allowed in over 20 states, and recreational use allowed in two (Colorado and Washington), the legal cannabis market is primed to expand dramatically. Privateer Holdings, a private equity firm that invests only in legal medical and recreational cannabis markets, has already raised over 50 millions dollars from investors, effectively bringing cannabis to Wall Street (Photo by Gilles Mingasson/Getty Images).
Credit: Gilles Mingasson
Sean Azzariti, a veteran of the Iraq war, makes the first legal recreational marijuana purchase in Colorado from advocate Betty Aldworth at the 3-D Denver Discrete Dispensary on January 1, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. Legalization of recreational marijuana sales in the state went into effect at 8am this morning.
Credit: Theo Stroomer
A one-ounce bag of medicinal marijuana is displayed at the Berkeley Patients Group March 25, 2010 in Berkeley, California. California Secretary of State Debra Bowen certified a ballot initiative late yesterday to legalize the possession and sale of marijuana in the State of California after proponents of the measure submitted over 690,000 signatures. The measure will appear on the November 2 general election ballot.
Credit: Justin Sullivan
Dave Warden, a bud tender at Private Organic Therapy (P.O.T.), a non-profit co-operative medical marijuana dispensary, displays various types of marijuana available to patients on October 19, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Attorney General Eric Holder announced new guidelines today for federal prosecutors in states where the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes is allowed under state law. Federal prosecutors will no longer trump the state with raids on the southern California dispensaries as they had been doing, but Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley recently began a crackdown campaign that will include raids against the facilities. Cooley maintains that virtually all marijuana dispensaries are in violation of the law because they profit from their product. The city of LA has been slow to come to agreement on how to regulate its 800 to 1,000 dispensaries. Californians voted to allow sick people with referrals from doctors to consume cannabis with the passage of state ballot Proposition 215 in 1996 and a total of 14 states now allow the medicinal use of marijuana.
Credit: David McNew
Employees prepare for opening day at the Cannabis City retail marijuana store on July 8, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. Cannabis City was the first retail marijuana store to open in Seattle today and one of the first group now operating in Washington state, nearly a year and a half after the state's voters chose to legalize marijuana for recreational use.