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The State of Marijuana in America

The past few years have seen a seismic shift in how marijuana sales and consumption are perceived and treated in America. There are wide regional and demographic differences, but there seems to be a general trend towards acceptance of treating marijuana similarly to alcohol or other age-sensitive products. 


Which States Now Allow Legal Recreational Marijuana Sales? 


Following the November 2016 election, eight states (WA, OR, CA, NV, AK, CO, MA, ME) plus the District of Columbia now allow for recreational marijuana sales. Twenty-eight states plus the District of Columbia allow for marijuana to be used for medical purposes. 


States that were early adopters of recreational marijuana (such as Colorado and Washington State), have been seen as test grounds for the impact of marijuana tourism. However, the increase in the number of states overall that allow for recreational marijuana use will likely take the pressure off of those states that made marijuana use legal several years ago. 


How Do People Feel About Marijuana Legalization? 


Acceptance and support for marijuana legalization has increased over almost every demographic. Still, there are distinct differences in levels of support among different groups. As of 2016, 57% of men supported legalization, versus 49% of women. There is also a split along party lines, with 66% of Democrats, 63% of Independents, and 41% of Republicans supporting legalization. When you look at the trend, though, public opinion is clearly moving in the direction of approval. According to Pew Research Center, 2012 marked the turning point when more people in the country approved rather than opposed legalization. 


What Does Marijuana Legalization Mean for Businesses? 


Time will tell whether public opinion continues to move towards approval. In the meantime, businesses need to proceed with caution. If marijuana does eventually achieve legalization status all across the country, that will likely mean putting laws in place that function similar to laws regarding other age-sensitive products. 


Do you have any questions regarding how marijuana legalization might impact your compliance efforts? Please contact us at 1-877-540-5500 or to discuss.

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