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Ready or not, legal marijuana could be coming to a state or city near you in the not-too-distant future.

Since 1996, we’ve witnessed an incredibly quick rate of expansion for marijuana at the state level. Beginning with California legalizing medical marijuana, 22 additional states, along with Washington, D.C., now allow for medical cannabis to be prescribed by physicians for specific ailments that vary by state.

This expansion has happened despite the federal government hardly budging on its stance toward marijuana. The Obama administration has lifted some of the hoops that researchers would need to jump through prior to commencing a clinical study into the benefits or risks of the drug, but as a whole, the marijuana plant is still just as illegal today as it was in 1996 at the federal level.

It’s not just medical marijuana that’s expanding at a rapid pace. Recreational marijuana has been approved by voters in four states since 2012 — Washington, Colorado, Oregon, and Alaska — and it’s forecast to expand in a big way during the November 2016 elections. Nevada already has collected enough signatures to get a recreational initiative on its ballot, and it’s likely that California, Ohio, and perhaps more than a half-dozen additional states may look to legalize marijuana completely this November.

To read more: http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2016/02/14/legal-marijuana-sales-could-quadruple-by-2020-new.aspx