They said it couldn’t be done: Ending America’s war on marijuana

Just say yes.
Just say yes.
Image: AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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In 1990, just 16% of Americans opposed marijuana prohibition. Today, 53% think cannabis should be legal—and with more states set to legalize the drug this year, experts say the federal prohibition isn’t long for this world.

How did we get here?

This week, Actuality tells the ugly truth about how cannabis prohibition originated as a tool to repress minority groups. We peek at the green shoots of the nascent legal weed industry to see if the architects of this new market can avoid the injustices of prohibition and the subtler dangers of corporate marijuana.

For this episode, we sent co-host Sabri Ben-Achour to visit Wash Hydro, a Washington, D.C. retailer specializing in the equipment you need to grow your own marijuana. Donna Murch, a historian at Rutgers University, tells us about the racial animus behind drug prohibition in the United States. And we visit Adelanto, California, with Quartz reporter Corinne Purtill, who has explored the city’s plans to boost its economy with marijuana production, and meet Aaron Herzberg, an investor in this green economy.

After you listen to this episode, give us some clues for what you want to see in future episodes. Who else is doing the impossible? Tell us on twitter, or e-mail us.

Actuality is a joint production of Quartz and Marketplace. Every two weeks, we’ll explore the inner workings of the new global economy, combining the best of our economic smarts. You can listen to Actuality and subscribe on iTunes, or use this RSS feed to subscribe with your favorite podcast app.