What’s Next for the Marijuana Lobby?

On New Year’s Day, marijuana will be legal for adult consumption in Colorado, and pot stores will open in Washington by the summer. Medical marijuana — remember when that was a thing? — is available in 21 states and the District of Columbia.

This isn’t an experiment anymore: legal pot is one of the fastest growing markets in the country. One investment group estimates that more than $1.43 billion in legal pot will be sold in 2013, and $2.34 billion in the coming year.

So what’s next for the marijuana lobby?

Create space for the market to do its thing — that’s according to Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association. He spoke to The Atlantic this week:

“The goal is simple,” he said, “It’s really to alleviate the voices of cannabis business-people and then push federal laws so these businesses are treated just like any other businesses in the country.”

There’s a pretty strong impetus for investors to remove the roadblocks that keep pot profits underground, so the strategy makes sense: give businesspeople a taste of the potential revenue marijuana could generate, then watch as influential allies flock to your team.

And there appear to be some legitimate opportunities right around the corner.

Here’s how some of the legal marijuana markets are expected to grow in the next year, according to a recent report by the ArcView Investor Network, a cannabis industry investment group.

The chart shows large markets, medium markets and small markets, in that order:

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