Within the last year, there has been unprecedented rapid growth in the legal marijuana market in the United States as both Washington and Colorado became the first states to approve legislation that allowed recreational usage of marijuana.
According to a recent news report from The Huffington Post, medical marijuana retailers and processors have estimated that there will be more than 1.43 billion dollars worth of marijuana purchased in America by the end of 2013. The source also reports that industry leaders predict the sale of cannabis will grow by a whopping 64 percent to 2.34 billion dollars within the next year. In fact, legal marijuana has even beaten out the global smart phone market to become the fastest-growing industry in the nation.
Rising Support for Legalizing Marijuana by the Numbers
As medical marijuana continues surging as a thriving industry in the domestic United States market, the public opinion on legalizing cannabis has reached its highest points in history. For the first time ever, the Gallup Poll has found that the majority of American citizens, more than 57 percent, support the idea of legalizing the drug for both medical and recreational use. These latest poll results from October of 2013 stand in a sharp contrast from those found on the same topic back in 1969, when just 12 percent of Americans reported a favorable viewpoint on legalization of marijuana. Although support nearly doubled in the 1970s, it plateaued during the 1980s and 1990s before soaring since the new millennium. In just the last year since November of 2012, support for legalization has skipped up 10 percent.
Reports demonstrate that independents have the largest growing support for legalization, up 12 points since last year to an overwhelming 62 percent. In comparison, 65 percent of Democrats and 35 percent of Republicans voice their backing. Among the various age ranges in the American population, those over the age of 65 are currently the only group that opposes legalization, but even support from older Americans has grown by 14 percent. While 67 percent of 18 to 29 year olds favor legalization, 62 percent of those from 30 to 49 years of age also have positive views on legalizing the drug.
Future Legal Implications for Soaring Cannabis Market
Within the past year, the Gallup Poll has reported that a sizeable 38 percent of Americans admitted to using the drug, which may be spurring higher levels of acceptance of marijuana. Success at the voting booths across Colorado and Washington may have also helped to spark increased American tolerance for marijuana legalization. Along with growing social acceptance, medical marijuana has been spread as a viable option for alleviating the effects of crippling health conditions, such as arthritis, and mitigating the negative side effects of chemotherapy for treatment of various cancers. Some experts indicate that growing American support can be traced back to the flexible viewpoints offered from the Obama administration since being elected into office as well.
Whatever reasons underlie the rapidly growing support and market for marijuana, it is highly likely that this current momentum will not be slowing down anytime soon. Studies expect that more than 14 states will potentially legalize marijuana for recreational use within the next five years to build the market to $10.2 billion dollars by the year 2018. Although the federal government has yet to catch up with this instant evolution and cannabis remains illegal in the United States, advocates believe that efforts for legalization will continue to spur nationwide incrementally.