The cannabis industry had a major victory last week, without even appearing in court. The U.S. Department of Justice, after four years, dropped the case to shut down Harborside Health Center in Oakland, California, which is currently the largest medical marijuana dispensary in the United States.
Robert MacCoun, a law professor and drug-policy expert at Stanford University, in an interview with SF Gate perfectly explained how this market is changing: "The framework is moving from the war on drugs to tricky issues of regulation, taxation and who is going to be in control of this major new industry," he said.
The reason for the softer approach is in part economical. According to a report by Marijuana Business Daily, the entire marijuana industry, including tourism, which is an impact of legalization, is projected to provide $44 billion to the economy by 2020.
Legal marijuana sales in the U.S. alone spiked to $5.4 billion in 2015, up from $4.6 billion in 2014. Sales are projected to hit $7.1 billion in 2016.