Now that 2016 is over, the total marijuana sales revenue results for the year are in. A report from ArcView Market Research reveals $6.7 billion in revenue for the North American legal weed market in 2016. That’s 30% higher than in 2015. Which would make legal weed the fastest growing market since the broadband internet. As states continue to go legal, the numbers increase. In fact, Arcview believes sales will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 25% from now until 2021. More Americans are consuming cannabis than ever with 33 million pot smokers according to a poll from last year.
Legal Weed Vs. Broadband Internet Growth
In the year 2000, the number of Americans with access to the broadband internet was 3%. By 2013, the percentage went up to 70%, according to the Pew Research Center. Experts believe legal weed has the potential to keep up with the growth seen with broadband internet.
Legal marijuana is doing broadband internet numbers even though it is not legally available in all states like broadband was before it overtook dial-up. If cannabis became completely legal, the market would grow at an even greater rate. “The only consumer industry categories I’ve seen reach $5 billion in annual spending and then post anything like 25% compound annual growth in the next five years are cable television (19%) in the 1990s and the broadband internet (29%) in the 2000s,” said Tom Adams, editor in chief at ArcView Market Research.
“The only consumer industry categories I’ve seen reach $5 billion in annual spending and then post anything like 25% compound annual growth in the next five years are cable television (19%) in the 1990s and the broadband internet (29%) in the 2000s,” said Tom Adams, editor in chief at ArcView Market Research.
“What broadband changed for the internet was a kind of remarkable parallel to legalization for cannabis,” Adams told Green Rush Daily. “We saw what had been a $5 billion industry — like this one — in North America take off at that point on new growth spurts.”
However, Adams doesn’t think legal weed is ever going to be as big as the multibillion-dollar internet access market. While the growth rates are close, the internet is legal in far more places and utilized by more people than weed.
Legalization Increasing Market
Before the 2016 election, 3/4 of U.S. states with recreational marijuana saw a 62% increase in cannabis spending between 2015 and September 2016. On election day seven states legalized marijuana in some form making the legal cannabis market accessible to a wider audience.
When weed becomes legal for sale in a state, the number of consumption method available to consumers goes up. People who are unwilling to smoke might then try marijuana in edible, topical or vapor form.
“It’s one of the major reasons that people are going to leave the underground market to go to the aboveground market. It’s about variety,” Troy Dayton, CEO at Arcview, told Green Rush Daily. “You just can’t get these products on the underground market.”
The experts at Arcview predict many countries will legalize pot over the next 10 to 15 years.
“So when you look at the global market, the world has never seen something that will have such consistent growth over such an extended period of time as the cannabis industry,” Dayton said.
The green rush continues to grow, and legal weed is competing with high-speed internet sales in a world where access to the internet has become close to a necessity. The fact that legal marijuana is within 5% of the growth rate of broadband internet illustrates how popular the idea of legal weed is to Americans. The trending growth shows no signs of decline with states like Massachusetts recently going recreational and Maine following soon.