Life, Liberty, [and the Pursuit of Happiness]: Medical Marijuana Regulation in Historical Context

Lewis A. Grossman

ABSTRACT

ELECTION NIGHT IN A MARIJUANA SUPERMARKET

It was 7:45 p.m. on Election Day, 1996. The thousands of people assembled in and around the Cannabis Buyers Club (CBC) on San Francisco’s Market Street were eager for the polls to close in fifteen minutes so they could start smoking weed. The crowd had gathered for a victory party celebrating the expected passage of California Proposition 215, the “California Compassionate Use Act of 1996.” If enacted, this initiative would be the first state law in the United States to legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Dennis Peron—the founder and director of the CBC—would later remember: “Our freedom itself was on the ballot . . . . The entire planet was watching.”

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