The cannabis industry is growing like, well, a weed.
The United States cannabis industry’s annual economic impact could reach $44 billion by 2020, according to the 2016 Marijuana Business Factbook, published by Marijuana Business Daily.
If current business and legalization trends continue, the report estimates the U.S. cannabis industry’s annual economic footprint could boom from $14 – $17 billion in 2016 to $24 -$44 billion by 2020.
The estimates are based on the industry’s overall economic impacts, which include medical and recreational marijuana cultivation, distribution and sales, as well as revenues generated from cannabis-related companies, licensing fees, marijuana tourism taxes, impacts on real estate and job creation.
“We’re witnessing the emergence of a business that is about to become a massive economic force,” said Chris Walsh, managing editor of Marijuana Business Daily.
“These figures, which we deem conservative, show not only how important the industry already is to the U.S economy at large, but also how much more important it is about to become,” he said.
Walsh admits a number of factors could change these industry predictions, including an anti-marijuana president or public backlash to legalization. But overall, the industry’s long-term outlook is “exceedingly bright,” he says
Marijuana Business Daily’s predictions are more conservative than those published in February by New Frontier and Arcview Market Research.
That report estimates the U.S. cannabis industry’s economic impacts could hit $88 billion by 2020, as reported by 24/7 Wall St.
Recreational marijuana is currently legal in Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia. Medical marijuana is legal in 23 states and the District of Columbia.
A number of new states are pushing to legalize recreational and medical marijuana in 2016.
SOURCE: http://www.suntimes.com, by EMILY GRAY BROSIOUS