Public Safety & Justice

In States Where Marijuana's Legal, Localities Just Say No

January 27, 2014

The momentum toward legalized marijuana might seem like an inevitable tide, with states from Florida to New York considering easing laws for medical use, and a full-blown recreational industry rapidly emerging in Colorado and here in Washington State.

But across the country, resistance to legal marijuana is also rising, with an increasing number of towns and counties moving to ban legal sales. The efforts, still largely local, have been fueled by the opening, or imminent opening, of retail marijuana stores here and in Colorado, as well as by recent legal opinions that have supported such bans in some states.

At stake are hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues from marijuana sales — promised by legalization’s supporters and now eagerly anticipated by state governments — that could be sharply reduced if local efforts to ban such sales expand.

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