Nevada became the fifth state in the nation -- joining Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington -- to legalize the use and sale of recreational marijuana Saturday. Marijuana advocates and consumers celebrated with fireworks and other festivities -- fitting for the July 4 weekend.
It is important to clarify that eight states plus the District of Columbia now have laws on the books that legalize the recreational use of marijuana. However, due to bureaucratic and regulatory red tape, businesses still are not able to sell recreational marijuana legally in states like California and Maine.
California is required to start the application process for businesses to acquire the licenses they need to sell marijuana legally on January 1, 2018. The legal retail sale of marijuana can't begin in Maine until February 2018. Massachusetts has delayed the opening of recreational marijuana stores until some time in 2018 as well, and that was reportedly done to give lawmakers time to rewrite the voter-approved law.
The District of Columbia arguably has a tougher hill to climb. Lawmakers in Congress largely reject the legalization of marijuana in the city, and added a rider in a 2014 budget bill that prevents recreational marijuana from being sold or purchased in the nation's capital.
The majority of American voters believe marijuana should be legal for recreational and medicinal use. With the added economic benefits of legalizing cannabis in all of its forms, it appears likely that more states will follow down the path of legalization.