Jeremy Berke and Skye Gould
Oct. 17, 2018, 10:29 AM
Skye Gould/Business Insider
Oklahoma became the 30th state to legalize medical marijuana on Wednesday. Residents voted 56-43% in support of the ballot initiative, which is one of the most permissive medical marijuana laws in the US.
Nine states and Washington, DC, have legalized marijuana for recreational use — no doctor's letter required — for adults over the age of 21.
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.
Read more: The CEO of the largest cannabis company in the US says giant private equity firms could be his biggest competition — here's his playbook for defending against them
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.
Support for marijuana legalization reached new highs in 2017. A Gallup poll showed that 64% of Americans favor legalization, and a majority of Republicans back it for the first time.
Read more of Business Insider's cannabis industry coverage:
I am sick (and tired - in my best Bill Cosby voice) of these jerks stuck in what they think is the golden age of thinking trying to take our weed away. SHUT UP SESSIONS! Take your racist overtones and your angry elf mentality with a touch of little man syndrome and just leave our stashes alone. Let the states return revenues into their coffers, let little babies stop seizing, let elderly calm the Parkinson's shakes and let the overworked, overtired moms everywhere take something other than your friends pharmaceuticals to survive. Leave us ALL alone! This whole attitude takes your gremlin persona and simply amplifies your stupidity, lack of empathy and our proves your ill equipped to monitor progress that our country deserves. I hear today you are planning on making your famous announcement that federal prosecutors will no longer have their leash tied to common sense now that you are in charge. Good to know. Stoners must unite and states must learn to install protections from little Chucky...I mean Jeff. #StonersUnite
Who would have ever thought the Russians could take credit for saving Colorado recreational weed? It seems that just when newly appointed Attorney General of the United States, former Senator Jeff Sessions seemed to go from zero during confirmation hearings to warp speed on his path of destroying the recreational cannabis industry less than a month later. Funny he left those statements out of his confirmation hearings making it sound like pot was not his priority. Wow, how quickly things change. A story every day graced national and local media warning of impending weed doom. Well it turns out that recreational cannabis wasn’t the only thing Sessions left out of his comments during confirmation. It now seems that Sessions is caught between a rock and a Russian ambassador – a meeting that proves Sessions lied which immediately compromises his capabilities not only to lead an investigation on Russian involvement in the US election but to lead the nations attorney generals in truth, justice and the American way – which now includes weed. The press move quickly from hanging on Session’s every cannabis comment as if the order to seize dispensary inventory was imminent shaping news in Colorado and the other eight states where it is currently legal to buy pot across a counter instead of in a back alley to now reporting of Sessions’ recusal and the many calls for his resignation – saying recusal is not enough. Let’s face it anyway, pushing marijuana sales back to the street is even less effective than pushing alcohol back to underground speak easies. Stop worrying, Colorado (and the rest of you), for now anyway, Sessions has enough on his 1950 retro China dinner plate, for now. Just when dispensary owners and other professional cannabis businesses fretted about the federal crackdown becoming a reality, here comes that little story about Russian meetings making Sessions look like the hypocrite he’s always been. The man recently confirmed to hold the highest legal role in the US Government perjures himself during confirmation and has been admittedly busted in his lies. One can hardly believe this was an oversight in Session’s statements with the amount of preparation that goes into efforts to pass a confirmation hearing did two meetings just skip his silver mind? Why not just disclose his permissible but pesky little meetings with Putin’s puppets? Well, cheers to the cheaters who believe they can sidestep the press, fly below the radar and stay above the law because the very man sworn to protect ours has just been caught in that one most inconvenient lie – that he practices what he preaches – not so. So, when you think about Putin and pot – say thanks because without that connection we might be in for a world of hurt. As it stands now, Sessions has enough trouble of his own. With all of that public media stress, maybe he should light a fatty and inhale – I hear that marijuana can really help with anxiety but it has been known to cause paranoia in individuals who are incapable of opening their mind to progress, accepting states they cannot change and unable to mind their own business and leave ours alone.