Not that many years ago, if marijuana was discussed in mixed company, it was only talked about in hushed tones, coupled with furtive glances. The “devil’s lettuce” had its fans, of course, but for most folks the topic conjured up images of Hollywood movies characterizing users as stoners who did nothing but smoke weed 24/7 and get in lots of trouble.
Fast forward to 2017. Not only is marijuana, or cannabis, discussed around the dinner table in many homes, it’s a topic for investors and in boardrooms as it gains traction as a viable business venture.
No fewer than 29 states in the U.S. have passed laws allowing physicians to prescribe medical marijuana for their patients. Voters in eight of those states and the District of Columbia also approved laws legalizing marijuana for recreational use, which means even more startups are searching for a way to slice off a piece of the estimated $7.2 billion pot market.
This once fringe, cannabis-loving lifestyle has moved mainstream, and there’s plenty of proof to show it’s going to stay in the spotlight. Public support for making marijuana legal has reached 60 percent, according to an October 2016 Gallup poll. When Gallup first asked this question in 1969, only 12 percent of Americans thought it was a good idea.
With this surge in support and a natural curiosity about the political, legal and cultural ramifications of legalized marijuana, the topic is ripe for the front page. News giants like NPR, The New York Times, Forbes, the Washington Post and TIME Magazine (http://time.com/tag/marijuana/), along with hundreds of other publications, are assigning journalists to report on marijuana and its seemingly unstoppable march toward full legalization throughout the U.S.
Hollywood’s depiction of marijuana use likely won’t change that much from 1978’s “Up in Smoke” classic starring Cheech and Chong, but the plant’s reputation is certainly morphing into something that even your grandmother might find useful when faced with the aches and pains of old age.
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