This November, voters in California will be asked to decide whether or not recreational marijuana use should be legalized, and the proceeds from its sale taxed. While there is still a national debate about the merits of such a move, legalization proponents have received an unexpected boost from an influential former high government official.
Former United States Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, who served during the Clinton administration, recently told CNN that, in her view, recreational use of marijuana should be legal because the substance is not physically addictive, unlike nicotine and alcohol.
She also stressed the cost of enforcing the current ban, pointing out that "we have the highest number of people in the world being criminalized, many for non-violent crimes related to marijuana," quoted by the news provider.
"We can use our resources so much better," she added.
According to a recent poll conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California, a total of 52 percent of likely voters in the state support the measure, known as Proposition 19.
However, even if the measure passes, its proponents may still face an uphill battle, as U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said last week that the Federal government will continue to "vigorously enforce the controlled substances act."