Booming Legal Marijuana Business To Hit $23 Billion Per Year By 2020

Published March 21, 2016
Updated January 30, 2018
Published March 21, 2016
Updated January 30, 2018

The marijuana business is anything but legal on the federal level, but maybe it should be -- because these states are capitalizing.

Marijuana Business

Image Source: Pixabay

Marijuana’s medical benefits can’t seem to convince some of the more conservative and anti-drug members of the United States federal government to legalize it, but maybe its potential revenue can: The recently-released State of Legal Marijuana Markets 4th Edition report projects that legal marijuana sales will reach around $23 billion per year by 2020.

Colorado, Alaska, Oregon, Washington state, and Washington D.C. have already legalized recreational use of marijuana and 23 states allow its medicinal use. Yet on the federal level, weed is a Schedule 1 controlled substance along with heroin, LSD, ecstasy, and peyote.

Revenue from the states permitting recreational usage of the drug have shown that there is definitely a market demand for it: Recreational adult use sales totaled $1.3 billion last year in the four states that allow it. At a broader level, legal marijuana sales equaled $5.7 billion in 2015.

In Colorado’s first year of legalization alone, more than 10,000 jobs were created.

That’s not to say that legalization doesn’t come with its own market problems, though: A 2015 Ohio legalization law was voted down because it essentially created a legalized monopoly on the market.

At least 10 states will have marijuana legalization on the ballot come November 2016, including states with huge potential markets, like California and Florida. California has more than double the population of the states that currently allow recreational marijuana use — a market that grew 232 percent last year and accounts for a little over half of the $23 billion by 2020 projection.

If what we’ve seen so far holds true, the social acceptance of marijuana may be coming sooner than you think — and a big, taxable market will be right there beside it.

Next, check out 13 examples of ridiculous 20th century anti-marijuana propaganda.

Nickolaus Hines
Nickolaus Hines is a freelance writer in New York City. He graduated from Auburn University, and his recent bylines can be found at Men's Journal, Inverse, and Grape Collective.