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The last year was a 12-month Champagne toast for the legal marijuana industry as the global market exploded and cannabis pushed its way further into the financial and cultural mainstream.Legal marijuana was a $10.4 billion industry in the U.S. in 2018 with a quarter of a million jobs devoted just to the handling of marijuana plants, said Beau Whitney, vice president and senior economist at New Frontier Data, a leading cannabis market research and data analysis firm.Nearly two-thirds of U.S. states now have legalized some form of medical marijuana.With all its success, the U.S. marijuana industry continues to be undercut by a robust black market and federal law that treats marijuana as a controlled substance like heroin.In November, Democrats won control of the U.S. House and want to use it next year to pass legislation that eases federal restrictions on the legal marijuana industry without removing it from the controlled substances list.Blumenauer's "blueprint" to legalize marijuana also calls for the federal government to provide medical marijuana for veterans, more equitable taxation for marijuana businesses and rolling back federal prohibitions on marijuana research, among other things.
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