- Skye Gould/Business Insider
- Recreational marijuana is legal in nine states and medical marijuana is legal in 29 states.
- A 2017 Gallup poll showed that 64% of Americans support legalization.
- Marijuana enthusiasts will light up on April 20, a marijuana holiday also known as 420.
On April 20, many Americans who smoke marijuana – from California to Maine to Alaska – will light up legally in celebration of “420,” an unofficial marijuana holiday.
Nine states and Washington, DC, have legalized marijuana for recreational use – no doctor’s letter required – for adults over the age of 21. Medical marijuana is legal in another 29 states.
In January, Vermont became the first state to legalize marijuana through the legislature, rather than a ballot initiative, when the governor signed the bill into law.
Marijuana prohibition began 80 years ago when the federal government put a ban on the sale, cultivation, and use of the cannabis plant. It remains illegal on the federal level.
Despite the efforts of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has been on a crusade to stamp out legal marijuana since his appointment, the industry is exploding.
Legal marijuana sales exploded to $9.7 billion in North America in 2017, according to a report from Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics. That represents a 33% increase over 2016, shattering previous expectations about how quickly the marijuana industry could grow in the face of federal prohibition.
The report also predicted the legal marijuana market will reach $24.5 billion in sales – a 28% annual compound growth rate – by 2021, as more state-legal markets come online.