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The Numbers for Wednesday, October 23: Black market green
The percentage of Americans who support marijuana legalization, the first time a clear majority of the U.S. supports the reform, according to a new Gallup poll. Experts estimate that annual marijuana sales (including illegal sales) add up to about $20 billion, with $1.5 billion a year coming from the growing medical pot industry. (Gallup)
The percent of the world’s timber that Interpol estimates is illegally poached. According to reporters who have researched the topic, illegal logging has had a devastating impact on forests around the world, like in Russia, as workers desperate to feed their families cut down more trees than are sustainable. (Marketplace)
The rough amount of assets Japan’s Financial Services Agency froze in a move to separate the Yakuza (Japan’s organized crime syndicate) from their money. The frozen assets include two Japan-issued American Express cards and according to an article from Bloomberg, “adds to pressure from Yakuza-exclusion ordinances enacted nationwide in 2011 making it illegal to do business with gang members, as well as a U.S. executive order that year requiring financial institutions to freeze Yakuza assets.” The strategy is working, too, as Yakuza membership dropped 11 percent in 2011. (Bloomberg)