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While only a handful of states have legalized recreational marijuana, more than half of the U.S. has approved the use of weed for medicinal purposes. 
While only a handful of states have legalized recreational marijuana, more than half of the U.S. has approved the use of weed for medicinal purposes. 

2018 brings a big win for the weed industry

As recreational pot sales begin in California, are we any closer to legal marijuana in the Philadelphia area? 

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On Monday, dispensaries in California were allowed to sell recreational marijuana for the first time. California is the sixth state to allow the sale of non-medicinal weed after Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Alaska. Massachusetts will follow in July 2018.

According to a CNN report, the marijuana industry in California is projected to reach $7 billion in the coming years, eclipsing the nation’s entire legal cannabis market in 2016, which amounted to $6.6 billion.

With these trends, is weed any closer to becoming legalized in the Philadelphia area?

Pennsylvania lawmakers have made strides in the legalization of medicinal marijuana — more than 10,000 patients have reportedly registered for the Keystone State’s medical marijuana program, which is expected to begin later this year. Some cities in the state, including Philadelphia, have also decriminalized the possession of a small amount of pot. 

Despite these advancements, Pennsylvania likely will not permit the sale of recreational marijuana anytime soon given the state’s conservative tendencies. However, it appears that neighboring New Jersey may be on the fast track to legalization.

Phil Murphy, who will be sworn in as the governor of New Jersey later this month, said during his campaign that he aims to have pot legalized during his first 100 days in office. The legalization of recreational marijuana in the Garden State has been projected to generate as much as $300 million in sales tax revenue for New Jersey. 

While pot remains illegal at the federal level, Pennsylvania and New Jersey are only two of the more than half of U.S. states that have legalized medicinal marijuana for various conditions.

States that allow recreational weed have different restrictions on how much of the plant residents can have at one time and whether it can be grown in the home or not. Thus far, all states require customers to be at least 21-years-old. 

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