California may be the next state to legalize marijuana use, but there’s a catch: the legal smoking age in California was just raised to 21 years old.
With pro-marijuana supporters pushing to get marijuana legalization on the ballots in the coming election, it seems like this may be the year of weed in California. With enough signatures to officially be considered during November voting, legislators also seem to be gearing up for the inevitable marijuana legalization by taking steps to restrict smoking to a more adult crowd- namely, people over the age of 21. The bill, which was signed into law on Wednesday, also restricts where people are allowed to smoke and the sale of eCigarettes.
These legal measures go into effect on June 9th, and supporters of the bill site its potential for saving thousands of lives each year. Senator Ed Hernandez, the man behind the bill, says:
“[These laws] will save countless lives, reduce astronomical costs to the health care system, and cost very little because it uses existing enforcement mechanisms. Today was an enormous victory for not only this generation, but also for many generations to come who will not suffer the deadly impacts of tobacco.”
Beyond tobacco, this bill can be an important step in protecting Californians. We’ve discussed previously how eCigarettes are being used for more than just tobacco products; from K2 to heroin and other dangerous substances can be smoked via these electronic devices without being detected. While some may see this as being crafty, it has also proven to be detrimental: increases in overdoses or other unforeseen health complications.
Naive regarding the safeness of eCigarette use and the belief that one is above the dangers of overdose, the vulnerable population of teenagers and young adults may be upset regarding these legal changes, but protecting them and future generations is more important.
While, of course, I’m not implying that everyone under 21 is incapable of being responsible or making wise decisions, taking legal steps to help reduce the risks associated with smoking among all age groups is a move in the right direction.
Earlier this year, Hawaii was the first state to raise the legal smoking age to 21- as well as denying all but six applications to open medical marijuana dispensaries.