Cannabis use in the U.S. has risen 50% since 2009, to 9.9% in 2017, reflecting rapidly evolving public attitudes toward cannabis, as the stigma has eroded, the majority of states have advanced cannabis reform, and science has validated the plant’s diverse therapeutic and industrial properties.
Cannabis use has been highly correlated to legalization, with the states with the highest use being most likely to legalize, while the lowest-use states have either passed highly restrictive measures or no laws at all.
However, as the next wave of states prepare to legalize, usage rates alone have become a less reliable predictor of which market will legalize next.
Local political and social dynamics are now greater determinants of legislative reform, as was seen in the recent failed legalization efforts in New York and New Jersey, and successful measure in Illinois.
With cannabis use rising at different rates in markets domestically and internationally, it is critical that policymakers, investors and business owners understand and prepare for each market’s unique dynamics, including the factors influencing acceptance and use in increasingly culturally diverse legal markets.