The accelerating pace of marijuana legalization in the United States has certainly grabbed headlines around the world in the past few months. Four states (and the District of Columbia) already allow the use of recreational marijuana. And next month five more will vote on similar legalization — California, Nevada, Maine, Massachusetts and Arizona. Meanwhile, medical marijuana has been given the green light in half of all U.S. states.
Legal cannabis sales in the United States jumped 17 percent, to $5.4 billion, in 2015 and are expected to grow by 25 percent this year, to $6.7 billion, according to Arcview Market Research. By 2020 legal cannabis sales in the United States are projected to hit $21.8 billion.
But America's hardly the only place rethinking its stance on cannabis. As states rewrite the rules on the legality of the drug, other parts of the world are making their own changes.
Globally, $150 billion was spent last year on marijuana, said Scott L. Greiper, president of Viridian Capital Advisors. Almost all of that was done illegally. But as legalization efforts grow, angel and venture capital investors are getting interested in companies specializing in weed.