Just How Big Is the Weed Industry?

Just How Big Is the Weed Industry?

News headlines nationwide have been touting the canna-boom. Cannabis dispensaries and production facilities seem to be popping up everywhere medicinal and recreational marijuana is legal. But in light of these reports, just how big is the retail marijuana market?

The legal cannabis boom has certainly grabbed a lot of headlines over the past year. Until recently, however, hard data comparing the size and growth of retail pot had been rather hard to come by. Thanks to the Annual Marijuana Business Factbook, however, that is changing.

The leading resource for trends, facts, and figures in recreational cannabis, the factbook is 300 pages of forecasts, benchmarks, and statistics covering the nation’s fastest growing industry.

What The Numbers Say

The U.S. retail cannabis market is valued at about $55 billion total — including illicit sales. When comparing the market to other industries, it’s actually easier to look at year-over-year growth as a sign of overall market share. Representing roughly $5.8-6.6 billion in revenue, medical cannabis overtook some other noteworthy industries in 2017.  

Last year, retail cannabis sales overshadowed both Oreos ($0.7 billion), the tattoo industry ($1.5 billion), and the organic produce industry ($4.8 billion). These statistics alone may be a little surprising, but what’s more noteworthy is that legal cannabis now has Netflix (annual revenue of $6.6 billion) and McDonald’s (annual revenue of $8 billion) clearly in its sights. On the heels of California’s legalization of recreational weed, the retail cannabis market is primed to surpass these numbers in 2018.

A Matter Of Time

Looking at 2018 is only part of the upside of the cannabis industry. For the next 4 years, the industry is poised for 200% growth. Continued decriminalization means a significant portion of the $55 billion legal and illegal cannabis market may become more legit. If so, retail cannabis will be rubbing shoulders with major tobacco ($80.3 billion) and beer ($111 billion). Although a significant number of factors are in flux — for example, the number of states legalizing weed — the future of retail cannabis sure seems promising.