Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform

Editor: Douglas A. Berman
Moritz College of Law

Monday, November 4, 2013

New market analysis asserts nearly $1.5 billion in LEGAL marijuana sales in 2013, and nearly $2.5 billion on 2014

MoneyThis new Huffington Post article, headlined "Marijuana Market Poised To Grow Faster Than Smartphones: Report," highlights why a lot of folks see the potential for a "green rush" in the marketplace as more and more US jurisdictions work toward marijuana reforms. Here are the details:

The market for legal marijuana in the United States is growing at a rate that is poised to outpace the expansion of the smartphone market, according to a new report obtained exclusively by The Huffington Post.

Researchers surveyed hundreds of medical cannabis retailers, processors, dispensary owners and industry leaders over the course of six months this year, and estimated that more than $1.43 billion worth of legal marijuana will be sold in 2013. The report also predicts that figure to grow by 64 percent to $2.34 billion next year. Recent figures show the smartphone market expanded by 46 percent from 2012 to 2013.

"Cannabis is one of the fastest growing industries," said Steve Berg, a former managing director of Wells Fargo Bank and editor of the report, the second edition of the State of Legal Marijuana Markets.... "Entrepreneurs and private investors are flocking to these markets," he said. "Those who really understand market dynamics will reap large rewards."

Medical marijuana is currently legal in 20 states and the District of Columbia. Next year, Washington and Colorado will begin implementing laws that permit the sale of pot to all adults, and Berg noted that those states will obviously play a major role in the growth of the cannabis market. Colorado alone is predicted to add $359 million to its existing market in 2014....

"There has been a seismic shift in public attitudes towards marijuana," Berg said, explaining that as public opinion changes, laws are likely to follow. "Younger voters will become a bigger proportion of the overall voting base. It begins with shifts in attitudes and that translates to initiatives."

The report predicts that 14 more states will legalize marijuana for recreational adult use in the next five years, creating a potential $10.2 billion cannabis market by 2018.

Berg added that his research only examined the sale of cannabis itself, whether wholesale to retailers or directly to consumers. He said that the market for ancillary products, such as security equipment, grow tools, apps and paraphernalia, has the potential to drive growth still further. "This industry is professionalizing and seeing an influx of professionals from other industries," he said. "More and more investors are coming in and financing these businesses, which have more and more markets to serve."

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