The U.S. marijuana industry is getting more and more crowded.

It's been eight years since Colorado legalized the sale and possession of marijuana and now there are 14 states and the District of Columbia that have approved recreational cannabis use and one more that could be added to the list as soon as election votes are tallied.

On Tuesday, five more states joined the marijuana chorus. According to ABC News, New Jersey, Arizona, and Montana voters approved measures to make recreational pot legal.  Mississippi and South Dakota approved the use of medical marijuana, while a separate measure could make recreational pot use in South Dakota legal once all the votes are counted from Tuesday's election

It seems clear where the nation is headed. Back in 2012, the state of Washington approved recreational pot, and Colorado followed suit four days later. We knew then it was only a matter of time before a multitude of other states would join in. Since then, we have seen a gradual increase in states giving its stamp of approval to the recreational use of marijuana. The only surprising thing may be the fact that it hasn't happened more quickly. It's just a matter of time before the country goes all-in on marijuana.

Not only are more and more states endorsing the use of recreational and medical marijuana, but many states are also decriminalizing the popular drug as its use becomes more widespread and much more socially acceptable. At the same time, many municipalities are reaping the benefit of marijuana tax dollars and using the money to improve their communities. Of course, although the Grand Junction City Council has discussed the possibility of allowing pot dispensaries in the city, it's only the outlying communities that are enjoying the benefits of marijuana tax dollars.

The fabric of American society is ever-changing as marijuana use grows in popularity. Eight years ago, Colorado was like a pot guinea pig and other states have watched and learned from those early endeavors what has worked and what hasn't. Our state was definitely a pioneer and an influencer on other states in legalizing recreational marijuana. Whether or not that has been a positive influence or not remains to be seen.

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