U.S. Cannabis Industry Could Be $35 Billion in Size


Ryan Allway

October 24th, 2014

Policy


The U.S. cannabis industry could be worth $35 billion by 2020 if all 50 states legalized marijuana and the federal government ended prohibition, according to a new report from GreenWave Advisors. Assuming a more modest (and likely) legalization scenario, the prominent research and advisory firm predicted that revenues could still reach approximately $21 billion by 2020.

In its conservative model, GreenWave predicted that 12 states and the District of Columbia would legalize adult-use cannabis and 37 states would legalize medical cannabis. The states projected to legalize adult-use cannabis including Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

The notion of widespread adult-use legalization and potentially federal legalization has been gaining traction. Earlier this year, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) told the Huffington Post that “it’s game over in less than five years” referring to the end of cannabis prohibition on a federal level. The early successes of Colorado and Washington State’s programs have helped bolster these sentiments over time.

The dire consequences predicted by reform opponents have failed to materialize in states that have decriminalized and legalized cannabis. For instance, California reported that teenagers showed improvements in all risk areas, including crime, drug overdose, driving under the influence, and school dropout rates. In terms of revenue, Colorado’s cannabis tax is on track to surpass projections in 2014-2015.

With the upcoming election season in November, U.S. citizens will have an opportunity to vote on both adult-use and medical legalization. These elections could set the stage and public mood for future legalization efforts, which makes them extremely important for the movement. Widespread support could drive federal level discussions, but any failures could encourage second-guessing.

Ryan Allway

About Ryan Allway

Mr. Allway has over a decade of experience in the financial markets as both a private investor and financial journalist.


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