Marijuana Fast Becoming Legitimate Business

A new interactive feature by The Economist maps the progress of the decriminalization of cannabis in the United States.  Four states and the District of Columbia now allow recreational use of marijuana, and 21 additional states make it available for medicinal use.  The percentage of the public in favor of legalization has grown from 12 percent in 1969 to 52 percent in 2014.

Other figures highlighted by The Economist:

  • Colorado (the first state to sell recreational marijuana in January 2014) sold around $600 million-worth of recreational and medical weed over the first 11 months, raising $68 million in taxes for the state. 
  • But thanks largely to taxes and restrictive licensing rules, it costs about 50 percent more to get high legally in Colorado than it does from buying cannabis off the street (though legal weed will probably be stronger). 
  • Americans spend an estimated $40 billion getting high each year, about 20% of what they spend on cigarettes and alcohol. 
  • California is likely to legalize cannabis in 2016; federal legalisation may be five to ten years away. 

Read more: resources:
Respondants' perception of the Nation's progress in coping with illegal drugs (
Characteristics of Teen Substance Users: A Data-Driven Learning Guide (
Frederique Laubepin

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