Marijuana went mainstream in 2013 with both Colorado and Washington state legalizing recreational use, and 27 states and Washington, D.C., allowing the medical use of marijuana.
And now the fun begins: On Wednesday, Jan. 1, legal pot for recreational use goes on sale in Colorado.
The first customer, according to a press release from the Marijuana Policy Project, will be Sean Azzariti, "a Denver-based Iraq war veteran who can now legally use marijuana to alleviate the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). "
Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in the release, “Millions of adults use marijuana in the United States, but only in Colorado will they be purchasing it from regulated businesses instead of in the underground market. Marijuana is objectively less harmful than alcohol, and Colorado is the first place in the country to start treating it that way."
In a different report, The State of Marijuana Markets, Steve Berg, a former managing director at Wells Fargo Bank, said that the marijuana industry in the U.S. is growing faster than the smartphone industry.
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"Domestically, we weren't able to find any market that is growing as quickly [as marijuana]," Berg told the Huffington Post earlier this year.
With that in mind, here is a look at the long, strange trip America's taken to get to where we are today.