Whether someone lights up a joint to relax, or for medicinal purposes, depends on many factors, and cannabis has been a controversial topic for decades.

However, weed has been in the news recently for various reasons: weed (and tobacco) vapes have been linked to multiple deaths around the country, there are complaints about allegedly lazy millennials choosing to smoke overworking, and some are even debating whether pot brownies actually count as calories.

Here are the facts

Legalizing[RS1]  cannabis, for recreational and medical use, has been up for debate for about the last 10 = with Colorado being the first to end prohibition in 2015. In Pennsylvania, medical marijuana has been legalized and recreational smoking has been decriminalized in Philadelphia.

However, that all may change with the Gold Standard Bill introduced in Harrisburg last week.

Governor Tom Wolf has recently changed his viewpoints on recreational cannabis consumption, according to an article published in USA Today in September,

“In the past, I didn’t know if Pennsylvania was ready for this,” Wolf said. “I believe Pennsylvania is ready for this.”

Well, it seems as if Pennsylvania is ready for this because, as we learned from alcohol prohibition, laws banning a substance will not keep people away from, what some refer to as, “the devil’s lettuce.” And it seems Pennsylvanians are ready because Bill 350 was introduced to Harrisburg October 15.

While reading the bill is important and understanding how legislature affects the public is necessary, what I know everyone is asking is, “okay, so imagine weed is legal … then what?”

As an academic, I decided it was important to conduct diligent research for myself. This past month I traveled to California and Massachusetts, where weed is legal, and I can tell you exciting things are coming for Pennsylvania.

Other States

California and Massachusetts have their own laws about how weed can be sold. For example, in California residents and visitors can purchase an eighth of weed pre-rolled in joints. They come in heavy-duty recycled boxes that look like cigarette cartons. Not only are they perfectly rolled, but they also come with match sticks and a strike pad.

By contrast, Massachusetts only allows residents and visitors to purchase one joint at a time.

Another difference with Massachusetts was that the dispensary was in an old bank. Per the law, in Massachusetts, they were not allowed to hand out coupons or free items. Additionally, I was given a four-page menu on what was available to purchase on that day, which was very different from the multi-page online catalog.

Shopping at dispensaries in California made me feel like I was the Queen of America. Just for showing up I received a coupon for $25 off my first purchase. The building was clean and modern and there were tablets a cashier used with me to go through their inventory. Also, while in California, I learned that edibles come in many forms, like lemonade.

While both experiences were amazing and eye-opening, I do have my own biases on which I would prefer in Pennsylvania. Adopting the California model would be best for various reasons. It made me feel like a queen, way more options, and coupons.

Legalizing cannabis is an important piece of legislature. Every generation should pay attention to because of all the proven benefits of the marijuana plants.