Legal cannabis sales in the US have seen a sharp increase this year, with total purchases growing by 30 percent, a report by Marijuana Business Daily says. It suggests sales could grow even more next year.

Legal pot sales could increase by another 45 percent in 2018, the latest annual report by Marijuana Business Daily said. The publication, a trade news website for professionals in the recreational and medical cannabis industry in the US, further forecasts that legal weed sales in America could quadruple between 2016 and 2021, with the marijuana market eventually hitting highs of $17 billion in sales.

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As sales figures rise, so too the debate around its legalization. It's no longer a taboo topic as the number of people supporting such a move swells in the US. According to Gallup's October 2017 annual survey on cannabis, as many as 64 percent of respondents said they want to see pot legalized, an all-time record, according to some media outlets. The number of weed legalization supporters in the US has grown by almost 40 percent since 1995, when California became the first US state to legalize marijuana for medicinal use. Back then, only about 25 percent backed the idea to legalize the herb.

Eight US states – Nevada, Maine, Colorado, Washington, California, Massachusetts, Alaska, and Oregon – have so far decriminalized the sale and possession of weed both for medical and recreational use. The District of Columbia also decriminalized the personal use of cannabis, but not its commercial sale. In total, 23 US states have laws that allow the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes to some extent. However, on a federal level, it is still illegal to possess, use, buy, sell, or cultivate marijuana.

READ MORE: Canada could make a fortune from legalized pot

Uruguay is currently the only country in the world which has fully legalized marijuana. The cultivation of cannabis was legalized in 2014, and its sale became legal in July 2017. Canada could possibly soon follow suit. The Cannabis Act was introduced in the Canadian Senate in late November. It is overwhelmingly backed by the general public and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and legislation is expected to be passed by July 2018, perhaps even earlier. The annual sales of weed in Canada is projected to range between $2.3 billion and $4.5 billion by 2021, according to the Marijuana Business Daily.

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