The American economy is seeing a resurgence after the dark years of the Great Recession, and one of the reasons is the growth of the legal marijuana market. The current trend of legalization has fueled the industry and if marijuana becomes legal in all states, it could become more popular than organic food.
The explosive growth of the cannabis market was measured by the ArcView Group, a multifaceted research firm that focuses on and invests in cannabis, in the recently released third edition of “The State of Legal Marijuana Markets.” It revealed the industry pulled in $2.7 billion last year, which is a big jump from $1.5 billion in 2013. That is a staggering 74 percent increase.
ArcView came to this conclusion after performing surveys of both legal recreational and medical marijuana retailers in several states, in addition to independent growers and other related businesses. The surveys were done over a seven-month period that began in 2013 and ended in 2014. The group also utilized data from private companies, non-profits and state agencies in order to get a complete picture of the legal marijuana market.
ArcView CEO, Troy Dayton, stated that in a mere 12 months, national conversation about legal marijuana has moved from casual speculation to serious interest as the market has expanded. He added that it would be remiss of any business owner to not consider the many possibilities offered by the legal marijuana industry.
The group’s report also predicted strong sales for 2015, projecting growth to top out around 32 percent. This would place the legal marijuana market in the number one position in comparison to all other industries experiencing rapid expansion.
In the next half-decade, the industry is projected to grow even further, especially with 10 states giving consideration to legal recreational use of marijuana either through legislation or by putting it to a vote. ArcView predicted that a total of 14 states would legalize recreational use, with two more states allowing medical use.
Currently, only four states, Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Alaska, have made retail sales of marijuana legal. Voters in the nation’s capital said yes to recreational use, but sales are still not permitted. An additional 23 states have allowed medical marijuana, but this has not changed anything at the federal level. Cannabis remains against the law in any federal circumstance, and is still classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, meaning it has “no accepted medical value in the United States.”
By 2019, the cannabis market is expected to be worth $11 billion. California has the largest individual legal market at $1.3 billion, with Arizona boasting the fastest-growing market at $155 million. Last year saw 1.5 million people buying legal marijuana from dispensaries, with Washington and Colorado seeing $370 million in sales of marijuana products. Alaska and Oregon are projected to add $275 million in the first year of retail cannabis sales.
Troy Dayton said the legal marijuana market is seeing the bets of times, with a strong possibility of creating a new set of millionaires or billionaires. Growth would be limited only by states that are reluctant to relax drug laws.
Image credit: ArcView Group
This post was originally published on January 27, 2015, it was updated on October 5, 2017.