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The Marijuana industry is growing rapidly, and at the moment it seems as if nearly everyone wants in.
According to cannabis research firm ArcView, legal cannabis sales in North America surged by 34% last year to $6.9 billion, and by 2021, sales of legal weed are expected to top $22 billion. Investment firm Cowen & Co. is arguably even more bullish, calling for $50 billion in legal pot sales by 2026, which works out to a compounded annual growth rate of more than 23%.
This growth rate is all thanks to the rapidly changing opinion of the public and a number of legislators in select states. National pollster Gallup, which has been keeping tabs on the public's opinion of marijuana for nearly 50 years, notes that 60% of respondents were in favor of a national legalization in its 2016 poll, an all-time high. Comparatively, just 25% felt the same way back in 1995.
Here's why marijuana will eventually be legal in Illinois
Regardless of how you feel personally about recreational marijuana, the majority of Illinoisans and the vast majority of Chicagoans support marijuana legalization. According to a recent poll from a public policy institute at Southern Illinois University, 66 percent of voters in the state support recreational marijuana, while 74 percent of Chicagoans are in favor of legalization. Citing these and other statistics, state lawmakers and marijuana reform advocates held a press conference in Chicago on Wednesday to unveil a new approach to making pot legal in the Land of Lincoln.
Sen. Heather Steans and Rep. Kelly Cassidy, both of Chicago, were joined by figures from various marijuana advocacy groups to lay out how they plan to grow bipartisan support of pending legislation that would make it legal for adults to possess, purchase and grow small amounts of marijuana. Through public hearings, mobilizing support and sound policy, the message on Wednesday was that it's only a matter of time until grass gets a pass.
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