Legalize It: The Marijuana Industry Gets A Little Higher, Nation’s Pot Industry Isn’t Going Up In Smoke

Puff, puff, pass. That’s the mantra of the recreational marijuana smoker and today it’s louder than ever.

That’s because four states in the country have legalized marijuana for recreational use, and 10 more are considering it.

What was once a back alley, black market has gone mainstream and is now worth almost $3 billion, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The change is affecting everything from banking regulations and politics to summer camps.

This weekend California’s Daly City played host to the Cannabis Cup, an event featuring 416 vendors with prizes for everything from the best marijuana to the best edibles.

Cannabis Industry Isn't Going Up In Smoke
NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 19: Marijuana products and paraphernalia are displayed at the Cannabis World Congress Expo on June 19, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

And that’s in a state where marijuana is only legal for medicinal purposes.

In Colorado, which legalized marijuana for recreational use in January, 2014, the newly legalized industry has seen profits soar to unprecedented heights despite a confusing array of regulations.

Although marijuana is legal for personal use, a new ruling by the Colorado Supreme Court allows businesses to fire employees for their private marijuana use.

The court’s decision is sure to start a new debate about state rights and federal government laws.

Despite that, Colorado will play host to the first ever marijuana friendly summer camp this July, according to the Inquisitr.

CannaCamp, a 170-acre ranch resort, plans to offer everything from outdoor hiking and biking to indoor massages and five star cuisine, along with a marijuana friendly lifestyle of course.

Colorado, however, isn’t the only state with a flourishing marijuana industry.

Marijuana Industry Gets A Little Higher
LOS ANGELES, CA – JULY 25: A budtender pours marijuana from a jar at Perennial Holistic Wellness Center medical marijuana dispensary, which opened in 2006, on July 25, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

Earlier this month, 300 members of the marijuana industry hosted a semi-formal dinner where they raised more than $100,000 to support Rep. Earl Blumenauer, a Democrat from Oregon.

The Oregon Cannabis PAC, which hosted the fundraiser, said it’s the largest amount of money ever donated to a politician from the marijuana industry.

Todd Donovan, a political science professor at Western Washington University told Jefferson Public Radio the marijuana industry is poised to become a major special interest group.

“Right now, you’ve seen it go from a small lobby group that was about legalization to a more mature industry that’s affected by state taxes, state regulations, local regulations about where you can open stuff.”

The $3 billion industry has gained supporters from all walks of life, but is still more prominent in larger cities than in small rural towns.

Cannabis activist Russ Belville told the San Francisco Chronicle the cannabis crowd has a lot to smile about these days.

“It used to be about the activism. Now it is about the business.”

[Photo by David Ramos/Andrew Burton/David McNew/Getty Images]