COLORADO: Legal marijuana is the fastest growing market in the United States, and it’s growing at a rate poised to outpace the expansion of the global 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. “Domestically, we weren’t able to find any market that is growing as quickly.”
While it’s important to note that smartphones surged in popularity long before medical marijuana became a viable industry, and global sales numbers for 2012-2013 don’t offer a direct comparison to 2013-2014 domestic estimates, Berg said his goal was to illustrate just how rapidly the cannabis market is expanding by offering familiar data points. The U.S. smartphone market, by comparison, is growing at a rate of 7.3 percent.
“Entrepreneurs and private investors are flocking to cannabis markets,” Berg 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.
The marijuana industry’s growth coincides with a widespread shift in the public’s attitude toward the substance. A Gallup poll conducted last month found that for the first time in history, more than half of Americans think pot should be legal for both medical and recreational purposes. A CNN documentary that aired this summerexplored marijuana’s benefits for a mainstream audience. And individuals are increasingly using the plant’s medicinal properties to treat symptoms even in children: A coalition of conservative Mormon mothers in Utah recently began lobbying for safe access to cannabis oil for their epileptic children.