Marijuana, also known as cannabis, is made from the dried leaves and flowers of the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. The plant grows in many tropical climates, however, nowadays it can be cultivated by means of indoor technologies almost everywhere in the world. The main active ingredient of cannabis is delta-9-tetrahydro-cannabinol, commonly known as THC.
The federal law regarding marijuana in the U.S. allows state legislators to decide for themselves whether to prohibit marijuana or not. Many state authorities in the U.S. have allowed marijuana for medical use. In addition, more administrative districts are legalizing marijuana for recreational usage. As of 2016, there are eight states in the U.S. in which the recreational use of marijuana is legal or the legalization is planned to be approved soon: Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. The sales of cannabis for recreational use have grown considerably since 2014, amounting to about one billion U.S. dollars in 2015. The leading market in terms of recreational marijuana sales is Washington, with the sales forecasted to reach 2.3 billion U.S. dollars in 2020.
Marijuana is the least potent of all the cannabis products and is usually smoked in hand-rolled cigarettes. However, marijuana edibles are becoming a popular alternative to smoking. In June 2015, the sales of solid and liquid edibles in Colorado amounted to about 113 and 33 thousand units, respectively.
The minimum age of recreational cannabis consumption is 21 in the states where it is legal. However, in all 50 states a large percent of school children have been also exposed to the drug. According to a 2015 survey, some 38.6 percent of high school students in grades nine to twelve stated they have used marijuana one or more times during their life. The same survey found, that the share of female and male students did not differ greatly, amounting to some 37.5 and 39.8 percent, respectively.
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