In recent years, medical marijuana has been transformed from a flashpoint in America’s culture wars to a legitimate healthcare treatment option available in many states. It is also now the fastest-growing industry in the U.S.
The push to “Legalize It” has been a whirlwind of laws providing various levels of restrictions in different states. But overall, the tide is turning toward positive policies in support of America’s favorite weed. And along with more relaxed marijuana laws, a burgeoning industry has been rapidly developing in the U.S. to meet the needs of consumers.
Here’s a look at where it all stands, by the numbers.
23 and D.C. = The states (plus Washington D.C.) where medical marijuana is legal in some form.
This list includes states where access to medical marijuana is quite limited, but doesn’t generally include states like Louisiana where there are medical marijuana laws but they are so unworkable, patients have no access to the treatment at all.
10 = States with pending marijuana legislation this year.
1 = The number of ailments that can be treated with medical marijuana in Texas, the most recent state to pass pot legislation. The way the law is written, patients can only be treated with medical marijuana if they have epilepsy, have experimented with two traditional medications and have approval from two doctors. But the policy also makes it illegal for doctors without a Drug Enforcement Agency license to prescribe the treatment, rendering the policy as useless for patients.
40 = The ailments patients can receive medical marijuana to treat in Illinois, one of the states with more lenient laws. The diseases and conditions include HIV, agitation of Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, severe fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis.
76 = The percentage of Americans in favor of marijuana for medical purposes, according to a New England Journal of Medicine study from 2013.
55 = The percentage of Americans who support legalized marijuana according to a 2014 CNN/ORC International poll.
More than 400 = The chemicals in marijuana — and 61 are unique to the cannabis plant. Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is by far the most active ingredient, but scientists have recently begun studying cannabidiol more closely, the chemical that is believed to provide many of marijuana’s medicinal characteristics.
25 = The percentage drop in overdose deaths from prescription painkillers in states with legal medical marijuana, according to a study published last year.
1.5 million = The estimated shoppers who purchased legal marijuana from a dispensary, either for medical or recreational use, in 2014.
$1.3 billion = The sales of legal cannabis in California, the state with the largest marijuana market.
$2.7 billion = The value of the legal marijuana market, which grew 74 percent in 2014, according to a report by ArcView. Legal weed is now the fastest growing industry in the U.S.
2019 = The year when ArcView has predicted the legal cannabis industry to earn about $11 billion annually, which is more than the U.S. film industry and more than triple the revenues of the NFL (currently the NFL’s revenues are estimated to be about $9.5 billion per year).
$36.8 billion = The projected sales of the marijuana industry in a fully legalized America.