This year, seven states are voting on the recreational use and another four on medical use. By the end of 2016, it is likely that a majority of states will have moved from prohibition to legalization of some sort – all in less than half a decade. Between now and 2020, sales are set from an estimated $7.1 billion to a projected $22.8 billion. Legal cannabis sales have grown from $4.6 billion in 2014 to $5.7 billion a year later. Most of that increase was in recreational use, which went from $374 million to $1.2 billion in 2015. By 2020, the total adult marijuana market is expected to be worth $12 billion – an incredible tenfold increase in just 5 years. A recent report on The State of Legal Marijuana Markets by New Frontier predicts a compound annual growth rate for marijuana sales between 2014 and 2020 of 30% – making it one of America’s fastest-growing industries. That being said, in 2015, Colorado alone expected an intake of $135 million in marijuana-related fees and taxes, up 77% from 2014.

In 2005, no more than 36% of Americans were in favor; ten years later, that percentage has shot up to 58% – a clear majority, and on the question of legalizing medical marijuana, an overwhelming 81%. It is important, though, to not underscore marijuana’s intrinsically harmful qualities; the psychotropic element of the drug, delta-9-THC, has short-term and long-term negative effects. The short-term effects include an altered sense perception, mood changes, and impaired body coordination and memory function. In the long term, memory, learning, and other functions may be damaged. In 2013, stoned drivers accounted for 8% of fatal accidents in the state of Washington, a figure that doubled to 17% when adult use was legalized.

By some estimate, cannabis production consumes 1% of the U.S.’s electrical output, the equivalent of 1.7 million homes, or $6 billion annually. As increased competition pushes down prices, high energy cost will become a hurdle for many traders, unless methods are developed to grow the crop using renewable energy sources.


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