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Dimes Into Dollars: The Marijuana Economy

Marijuana sales are generating billions of dollars in the U.S.

Marijuana sales are generating billions of dollars in the U.S.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The push for legalizing recreational marijuana doesn’t just make users happy. The Marijuana Policy Group says Colorado’s pot industry created more than 18,000 jobs and generated more than $2.4 billion for the state.

And it’s predicted that legal marijuana sales could grow to $21 billion in the next three years. Primo.

But even though more states are getting into this market, marijuana is still technically illegal because federal law hasn’t changed, despite a shift in public opinion.

U.S. public opinion on legalizing marijuana, 1969-2017

Will a budding business in herb inspire more states to prefer reefer to cushion to their coffers? Or will a continued federal prohibition drive the sales underground?


Wanda James, Co-owner of the cannabis company “Simply Pure,” based in Denver, Colorado.

Beau Kilmer, Co-director, RAND Drug Policy Research Center and co-author of “Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know”.

Bruce Barcott, Deputy editor of, the world’s largest cannabis information resource. He’s also the author of “Weed the People: The Future of Legal Marijuana in the US”

Amanda Chicago Lewis, Investigative reporter covering the marijuana industry. She writes a cannabis column for Rolling Stone, and has written marijuana exposes for Buzzfeed, GQ and Vice.

Governor John Hickenlooper, Democratic governor of Colorado; former mayor of Denver, beer brewer and geologist

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