Written by Fredreka Schouten for USA Today
PHILADELPHIA — Marijuana has gone mainstream at the Democratic National Convention this week.
Democratic officials, including Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer and his state’s Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, mingled with pot industry executives Monday night at a reception at a sleek bar downtown, miles away from the convention hall. A day earlier, the Marijuana Policy Project staged a fundraiser to support its work to push new laws around the country legalizing the use of marijuana. And inside the hall Monday, convention delegates endorsed a platform that calls for a “reasoned pathway” for the drug’s legalization.
“This is a very legitimate and very big industry,” said Michael Bronstein, co-founder of the American Trade Association for Cannabis and Hemp, which represents about 20 of the marijuana sector’s biggest players and co-sponsored a crowded weeknight party at bop, a Korean-styled bar and restaurant.
“A necessary extension of a legitimate cannabis industry is for the industry to become politically involved,” he said, explaining the group’s presence in Philadelphia.
The rapidly expanding market for legal marijuana is expected to hit $6.7 billion in sales this year, up from $5.4 billion in 2015, according to industry-affiliated ArcView Market Research.