With Colorado being the first state to legalize recreational marijuana, legalization is spreading to more and more states in 2016. A new report by ArcView Market Research found legal cannabis sales jumped 17% in 2015 and a will reach $6.7 billion in total U.S. sales in 2016.
Each state varies in opinion and level of enthusiasm of joining the green rush, but there is no doubt that the legal cannabis industry is starting to be taken seriously. Most all states have at least legalized medical marijuana to some extent. Only four states—Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington—have legalized recreational use of marijuana despite the majority of Americans favoring legalization.
Source: Drug Policy Alliance
So far a total of 23 states, now allow medical marijuana programs. Another 17 states allow “low THC, high cannabidiol (CBD)” products. The National Conference of State Legislatures uses the following criteria to legitimize an official program:
- Protection from criminal penalties for using marijuana for a medical purpose;
- Access to marijuana through home cultivation, dispensaries or some other system that is likely to be implemented;
- It allows a variety of strains, including those more than “low THC;” and
- It allows either smoking or vaporization of some kind of marijuana products, plant material or extract.