This California City Rejected Marijuana. Now Cannabis Is An Official Tourism Draw.

Marijuana legalization came slowly to Modesto, California, a city of about 212,000 in the state’s Central Valley, a vast, flat expanse full of fields and farms intersected by freeways, new tract homes—and values hard to the right of the state’s coastal cities.

For years, medical marijuana dispensaries were banned in Stanislaus County, of which Modesto is the seat. A 2006 Drug Enforcement Administration raid on a medical marijuana dispensary in city limits—that was obeying state law and paying state sales taxes—that landed both co-owners in federal prison set the tone. (One of the former owners, Luke Scarmazzo, is still in prison—one of the last federal pot prisoners in the state.) This was not weed country.

Though California voted to legalize recreational cannabis in 2016, the first legal commercial cannabis dispensaries in Modesto did not open until 2019, and then only after the local city council voted to ban them from the city’s downtown.

– Read the entire article at Forbes.

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