Why recreational marijuana is blocked while medical is being embraced

On the night of the 2012 presidential elections, the story of Barack Obama's re-election ran head-to-head with news of the groundbreaking legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado. Memes abounded, most featuring a cloud of smoke over the city of Denver bearing the caption, "Meanwhile in Colorado..." 

But America quickly realized, to the chagrin of many pot connoisseurs, that the prospect of walking through smoke-filled cities and browsing joint menus at dinner was likely still out of reach. The same thing has been happening this week in Massachusetts, California and other states, where attempts to legalize recreational pot use are being blocked because of opposition from politicians and residents, and overall confusion about how to regulate it.

Despite overwhelming support for medical marijuana–polls tend to show around 80 percent of the country is in favor–recreational marijuana remains a step too far. 

Massachusetts, where voters overwhelmingly chose to legalize recreational pot in December of...

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