Earlier this month, my great home state of Illinois joined the party and legalized medical marijuana, becoming the 20th state in the nation to do so. With most of the rest of the thirty straggling states now trying to push forward some kind of legislation, and with Washington and Colorado both taking the unprecedented step to outright legalize it, and with CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta officially climbing on board the Green Express by saying that he believes it has legitimate medicinal properties, the nationwide legalization of marijuana is less of a hope and more of an inevitability. At some near point in the future, most likely one that takes place in our own lifetimes, the use of marijuana will be as prevalent as cigarettes, alcohol, and aspirin.

And, as anyone who’s ever stepped foot in a bar or liquor store or hospital knows, that means big corporations jockeying for your money.

As this report from CNBC makes clear, there’s tons of money in pot. It’s the so-called “largest cash crop in California” for a reason: the cultivation of marijuana plants in Mendocino County alone is theorized to reach roughly $1.5 billion a year. Seeing as no one has a perfect understanding of just how many plants are being grown up there, that estimate may actually be low. And with that much money hanging around, corporate interests are sure to follow.

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