US marijuana industry may reach $44 billion by 2020 - report

© David McNew
The sale of cannabis could infuse up to $44 billion into the US economy by the end of the decade, according to the annual report from Marijuana Business Daily posted on Monday.

If the current business and legalization trend continues, annual revenue will increase from $14-17 billion this year to $24-$44 billion by 2020, says the report.

The numbers include the sale of marijuana as well as products associated with the growth of cannabis. They include growers, grow-lights, marijuana accoutrements and buying property for cultivation in states where the industry is legalized.

Every dollar spent on marijuana at retail leads to an extra $3 working its way into the economy, according to the organization.

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“We've been expecting rapid growth in the marijuana industry for a while now, and that's exactly what's playing out,” said MBD managing editor Chris Walsh.

He stressed the main drivers to growth are recreational sales in US states of Colorado, Washington and Oregon.

“Even the mature medical marijuana markets are growing very quickly, like Arizona, New Mexico, and states that have had medical programs for years now,” said Walsh, adding that new medical marijuana states like Illinois, Nevada and Massachusetts have just entered the industry.

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Sales of cannabis only in the states that have legalized medical and recreational use total $3.5-$4.3 billion this year compared to $2-2.4 billion two years ago.

Several states like California, Nevada and Massachusetts could legalize recreational cannabis after the November election, while Florida and Ohio could approve medical marijuana.

“These would be huge new markets for the marijuana industry, propelling its growth for years to come,” Walsh said.

However, the sector might be considerably affected by a change in the White House. Walsh expressed concern over the election of an anti-cannabis president or a backlash by communities that may make it difficult for marijuana businesses to make money.