Legal cannabis sales have exploded in North America, experiencing unprecedented 30 percent growth in 2016, totaling a massive $6.7 billion — a greater and faster economic boom than even the oft-heralded dot-com era.
Even more positive — particularly for cannabis purveyors and eager consumers — Forbes reports, assuming compound annual growth of 25 percent, sales are projected to top $20.2 billion in just the next four years.
As the outlet explains:
“To put this in perspective, this industry growth is larger and faster than even the dot-com era. During that time, GDP grew at a blistering pace of 22%. Thirty percent is an astounding number especially when you consider that the industry is in early stages.”
ArcView Market Research published the eye-popping report — using data from BDS Analytics, with access to individual customer transactions from dispensary partners — and included Canada for the first time as the nation makes its nascent foray into the legal cannabis landscape.
“One of the biggest stories was the alternative forms of ingestion,” ArcView CEO Troy Dayton told Forbes. “Concentrates and edibles are becoming customer favorites versus traditional smoking.”
Dayton, impressed by the bewildering figures, expressed trepidation over the future of the legal cannabis market under the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump — but he remains optimistic.
“It’s one of the few things he has been consistent on,” the ArcView head said of the incoming president’s states’ rights position on legalizing cannabis.
Right now, Dayton noted, “Twenty-one percent of the total U.S. population now live in legal adult use markets.”
Heavy investments in legal cannabis have came from California, Florida, Massachusetts, and Nevada; but the most jaw-dropping growth happened in Colorado, Washington, and Oregon — where sales skyrocketed fully 62 percent through September 2016 — veritably eclipsing the numbers from 2015.
Much of this market explosion has not occurred with the help of large companies and corporations, since the legality of cannabis in the U.S. has been a matter of political climate.
“You will not find another multi-billion dollar market growing at a 25% compound annual growth rate anywhere in the world that is not already filled with multi-national companies and institutional investors,” Dayton explained. “That’s part of what makes the cannabis industry such a unique opportunity for investors and entrepreneurs.”
Forbes reports ArcView “has helped its investors place $91 million with 135 companies since 2013 and primarily focuses on private companies. The industry with its legalization risks does not attract institutional investors in the same amount that other sectors do.”
Those investors seek new technology in the industry, particularly new means of testing cannabis and new advances in growing the plant.
Despite archaic federal prohibition on ‘marijuana,’ a growing number of states have opted to employ logic and compassion, legalizing variously recreational or medical use — in fact, California, Massachusetts, Maine, and Nevada voted to legalize recreational use in 2016.
ArcView’s new editor-in-chief Tom Adams, astounded legal cannabis managed to trump even the glorious dot-com boom, said “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 1990’s and the broadband internet (29%) in the 2000’s.”
This explosive growth proves legal cannabis doesn’t only benefit people with medical conditions and stoners — it can supercharge the economy, too. The drug warriors look sillier by the day.