Election day may likely put an end to the long-standing cannabis prohibitions in Denver. With a population of almost 60 million Americans, it signifies a huge step forward at making legal marijuana the law of the land nationwide. Smaller but still significant medical cannabis legalization measures around the United States could affect yet another 24 million Americans. Half of the states already allow some kind of medical cannabis use and more than half of all Americans live in a state where medical cannabis is approved.

Experts say California will most likely be the key factor in determining marijuana legalization on election day. Our most popular state is expected to approve the “Adult Use of Marijuana Act,” which would add almost 40 million names to the list of people who live in a state with legal marijuana. This fast growing industry which was Made-In-America has the potential for making billions of dollars in profits. Lawmakers see cannabis as a way to generate income in order to close budget gaps while entrepreneurs are considering the business side.

Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada are pushing to legalize pot for recreational purposes. Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota are asking voters to allow medical use for particular conditions such as cancer or chronic pain. None of this will affect the federal ban on cannabis use, although advocates for legalization say it can further pressure Congress, the DEA and the FDA to act.

Recreational cannabis is already legal in the following four states: Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Alaska, plus the District of Columbia. Twenty five other states permit medical use. Because a large amount of Americans populate the nine states where loosening measures are being considered, this election has the ability to change things in a major way. California is a huge source of our County’s revenue and it has the tendency of paving the way for the rest of the Country.

National polls show increasing amounts of support for marijuana legalization. Pew Research Center released a poll earlier this month which found 57 percent of adults think cannabis use should be legal, up from 53 percent in 2015 and 32 percent in 2006; despite the fact that cannabis is still illegal at the federal level. A Gallup poll released Oct. 19 showed even greater support: 60 percent up from 58 percent last year and 50 percent in 2011.

“There’s been an enormous shift in public opinion on this issue, and I think that has directly led to why it is appearing on so many state’s (ballots) this year,” said John Kagia, executive vice president of industry analytics for New Frontier Data. “This is going to be an enormous industry, no matter how you slice it.”

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