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Marijuana Would Outsell Ice Cream If It Were Legal Nationwide

A new report from Marijuana Business Daily suggests that marijuana sales would exceed that of ice cream if the government legalized cannabis nationally.

If recreational marijuana were legalized throughout the United States, marijuana would outsell ice cream, suggests a new report from Marijuana Business Daily. According to Marijuana Business Daily’s recently published Marijuana Business Factbook 2017, the current demand for marijuana, including the illegal market, is about nine times that of ice cream.

The total demand for marijuana in the U.S. is estimated by Marijuana Business Daily to be $45 billion to $50 billion. This figure far surpasses annual ice cream sales at $5.1 billion, as well as annual sales for movie tickets ($11.1 billion) and snacks like chips ($4.9 billion).

Adult use marijuana is legal in eight U.S. states, and four of those have yet to implement their regulated programs. With legal recreational and medical cannabis sales reaching a combined $4.0 billion to $4.5 billion last year, most of the demand for marijuana is clearly benefiting the illegal market.

“If the federal government legalized marijuana nationwide, sales might start out at around that level but would likely quickly rise as cannabis gained mainstream acceptance and the market evolved,” the Marijuana Business Factbook reads.

Marijuana Business Daily projects that the legal marijuana industry will continue its surge, growing about 30 percent to reach between $5.1 billion and $6.1 billion in 2017.

“The expected growth this year comes after a solid 2016, when recreational cannabis sales jumped by 80% to hit $1.8 billion. Colorado and Washington led the charge, while Oregon’s adult-use market posted strong sales gains in its full calendar year of operation,” the Factbook report reads.

Recreational and Medical Marijuana

Eleven states legalized medical or recreational marijuana in 2016, bringing the nation’s total medical marijuana states to 29 and the number of states with adult use laws to eight. Most of the states that passed laws last year are aiming to start sales in 2018, indicating a foreseeable spike in sales for the nation’s industry.

“On the recreational side of the business, the originally legalized states are still posting massive growth,” said Editor Chris Walsh. “The demand for marijuana is so enormous in this country.”

In 2021, cannabis retail sales are estimated to reach between $11.9 billion to $17.1 billion, with adult use sales accounting for $7.1 billion to $10.3 billion of that total. This would represent a 300 percent increase from 2016.

The growing legal cannabis industry is expected to make a $20 billion to $24 billion economic impact in 2017 before soaring to $70 billion by 2021. The report estimates that the legal cannabis industry currently employs between 165,000 and 230,000 full and part-time workers.

“To put this in perspective, there are now more marijuana workers than there are bakers or massage therapists in the United States,” reads the report.

You can access the Marijuana Business Factbook 2017 Executive Summary here.

Learn more about cannabis laws throughout the U.S. by visiting our education page. Keep up with the legal cannabis industry by visiting our news feed.

Post by Eve Ripley

Eve is a writer specializing in cannabis education and editorials related to cannabis industry news.

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  • WTFDavid D

    Legalized in Ohio but….20,000 for an application to open a dispensary. 200,000 for an application to cultivate. Who has that money laying around. Wealthy Politicians???? Always a lop sided system it seems