The nation's favorite illegal drug is (kind of, maybe, sometimes) legal: After residents of Washington State and Colorado voted in marijuana legislation more liberal than Amsterdam's, the plant has become a substance no more controlled than liquor. A booming industry is emergent; just don't expect to see owners of dispensaries dancing in the streets -- after all, they're still breaking federal law. Below, a state-by-state look at the tax revenue potentially generated by legalization, the drug's for-sale status, and three successful startups.
This story is from the December 24, 2012 issue of Fortune.
Editor's note: Every Sunday, Fortune publishes a favorite story from our magazine archives. This week, we turn to a feature from March 1971 on the physical effects and potential legalization of marijuana. On December 6, Washington became the first state in the U.S. to legalize recreational use of the drug for adults over 21 years old. Colorado will follow suit in January.Amid swirling controversy over what to do about pot, scientists are MORE Dec 9, 2012 9:30 AM ET
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