Marijuana is the most popular illegal drug in the United States. Seventy years of criminal prohibition, "Just Say No" sloganeering and a federal drug war that now incarcerates 225,000 people a year have not diminished the availability or use of — or apparently the craving for — cannabis. And helping meet the demand is California, the nation's top grower. Marijuana production here results in an estimated $14 billion in sales, and its cultivation and distribution are now tightly woven into the state's economy. It is grown in homes, in backyards and even in national parks, including Yosemite.
Marijuana is popular, plentiful and lucrative, costing about $400 a pound to grow and yielding $6,000 a pound on the street. So it is perhaps inevitable that an attempt would be made to legalize it, as Proposition 19 — the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 — purports to do.