4/20/14: Marijuana has progressed far


April 20 served as a day to celebrate marijuana and has long been an integral part of pot-culture. As the holiday comes and goes, it remains as a marker for how far our nation has come in the acceptance and legalization of the plant since the date has come around in past years.

Colorado legalized recreational marijuana four months ago and, in that short time, the state has generated $14 million. Denver’s crime rate has decreased, proving the pot opponents wrong who anticipated a drastic increase in crime.

Medical marijuana is making progress even faster than its recreational counterpart, as Maryland becomes the 21st American state to legalize its use. Even conservative regions like the Deep South are opening up to harnessing the plant’s medicinal value, with Alabama signing a measure to allow medicine derived from marijuana.

Uruguay’s President Jose Mujica made international history as he legalized marijuana for his country — creating the first national pot marketplace. Mujica was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, partly because of his legalization decision.

Perhaps our nation has finally realized the financial potential that the legalization of marijuana brings with it; an estimated $105 million in annual sales tax could be generated in California alone.

A total of 58 percent of Americans now say they favor legalization, as opposed to only 12 percent that supported it in 1969. Marijuana is proving itself in the US, and it seems like it’s presence will only continue to grow.