People in the US and Canada spent over $53 billion on marijuana in 2016

People in the US and Canada spent over $53 billion on marijuana in 2016

Published on 1/18/17

The green rush of the North American marijuana industry is unlike any new market to exist. In just a few short years of limited legalization, the marijuana industry began bringing in billions in revenue, $6.7 billion in 2016 to be exact. Experts in marijuana market research expect the trend of rapid growth to continue at about 26% each year, meaning a $21.6 billion industry by 2021. The more the legal market expands the faster it will overcome black market sales, which at $46 billion are still a majority of total marijuana sales in North America. $46 billion makes up 87% of the total $53 billion spent on legal, medical, and illicit cannabis in North America last year. But illicit sales have actually dropped from 90% of total sales in 2015, meaning legal markets are slowly but surely converting black market buyers to legal users. The total marijuana market of $53 billion is more than Americans spend on both McDonalds and Starbucks, but at the moment most of it is going willingly untaxed and unregulated. 

The North American legal weed market posted $6.7 billion in revenue in 2016, up 30% from the year before. The illicit market generated 87% of total pot sales, down from 90% in 2015.

"The enormous amount of existing, if illicit, consumer spending sets cannabis apart from most other major consumer-market investment opportunities throughout history," Dayton said in a statement. Unlike other fast-growing markets, which include organic foods, home video, and mobile, "the cannabis industry doesn't need to create demand for a new product or innovation — it just needs to move demand for an already widely-popular product into legal channels."

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