The movement to legalize marijuana notched a new victory with Nevada becoming the latest state to make recreational weed legal as of Saturday.
At least half of U.S. states have legalized pot for either recreational or medical purposes.
With polls showing record high support for legal marijuana among Americans and pot becoming a booming economy in its own right, advocates are winning converts across the political and economic spectrum. Among them are people such as independent former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura and Roger Stone, a top advisor to President Donald Trump.
Both men, who fervently back marijuana legalization, appeared in New York at the Cannabis World Congress and Business Exposition in June, just one of many rapidly proliferating forums to promote the business of weed. According to Cowen and Company, the cannabis industry is worth $7 billion, which could explode to $50 billion in the next decade.
Stone, a veteran Republican strategist for Presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and Trump, said that despite political disagreements between some weed adocates, "I think we can find common cause around [the cannabis] issue."
According to some estimates like New Frontier Data, a business intelligence firm, the market for legal weed may create as many as 250,000 new jobs by 2020. Recently, Ventura touted the economic opportunities presented by the wave of legalization, and called on the federal government to throw its full weight behind legal weed — something Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, has opposed in the past.
"Let's look at it economically. Donald Trump wants to create jobs? Simple. Pull off the federal ban on cannabis," Ventura said at the congress, citing Colorado as an example of a booming pot economy that contributes jobs and revenue to state coffers.
In addition to Colorado, the others states that allow recreational use of marijuana are Washington and Oregon. It's also legal in the District of Columbia. In Nevada, which also has laws allowing prostitution and gambling, the pot legalization will still ban public consumption, so don't expect to light up at a casino.