The marijuana industry is at a crossroads, the Washington Post reports. Voters have approved recreational marijuana in eight states plus the District of Columbia. When these laws become fully implemented in the next few years, more than one in five U.S. adults will live in places where they can walk into a store and legally purchase marijuana. The ArcView Group, a marijuana industry consulting firm, says the legal marijuana market made $6.7 billion in sales last year. Legal or not, millions use marijuana regularly. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health says 8.3 percent of Americans age 12 and over — 22 million people — used marijuana on a monthly basis in 2015. Close to 37 million people used marijuana at least once that year.
The latest data release from that survey breaks those numbers down even further, looking at marijuana consumption at the state level. It finds that there’s considerable variation in the prevalence of marijuana use by state. In the 2014-2015 period, nearly a quarter of people in places where recreational pot is legal — like D.C. and Colorado — used some form of marijuana at least once a year. That’s nearly double the national average, and it’s close to three times the rate for the most pot-abstinent states, like Alabama, Mississippi and Iowa, where around 8 or 9 percent of people aged 12 and older use pot yearly. The Northeast and the West Coast are the two major marijuana hotbeds in the country. Marijuana use between the coasts is generally lower, with the notable exception of Colorado.