Any time laws are changed there is an impact upon the criminal justice system. Reaching a consensus on changing laws is often more difficult than reaching a consensus to enact laws in the first place. Individuals and institutions have vested interests in maintaining or changing laws and these interests must be taken into consideration. In the case of legalization of marijuana, the country is undergoing a substantial shift in the efficacy of these laws. States are weighing not only the impact upon the criminal justice system of legalizing marijuana but also the prospect of obtaining millions of dollars in new tax revenues.

Video source: CNN Business on YouTube

1. What unanticipated consequences of legalizing marijuana nationwide do you anticipate?

2. Why does the video contend that California’s legalization of recreational marijuana is a game changer?

3. Why do you think the federal government is dragging its feet when it comes to legalizing recreational marijuana? What are the consequences in states that have already legalized marijuana from federal inaction?

4. What is the anticipated impact on the criminal justice system of legalizing marijuana?