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Looking Forward: Where Will Legal Cannabis Be in 5 Years?


Very few experts predicted that the legal cannabis market in Colorado would see as much success and job growth as it did in 2015. In just one year, legal sales in the state of Colorado totaled almost $1 billion in revenue. The state government collected more than $135 million in marijuana taxes and fees last year. According to many financial experts, this number will only continue to rise as more and more cannabis regulations are removed.

ArcView Market Research releases The State of Legal Marijuana Markets report annually, which is now in its fourth year. In the report, ArcView makes the prediction that the legal cannabis market will earn $21.8 billion in yearly sales by 2020. ArcView expects the legal cannabis market will see an annual growth rate of 30% over the next few years.

This report confirms the speculation put forth by the Washington Post in October of 2014 – that by 2020, the legal cannabis market could be bigger than the National Football League. The NFL took in about $12 billion of revenue last year.

Think about this for a minute. If you took a time machine back to the 60’s or 70’s and told someone that by the year 2020, the legal cannabis market would be more successful and mainstream than American football, they’d look at you like you had three heads. That could soon become the reality, though. It’s exciting and mind-boggling at the same time.

With 2016 being an election year, legal cannabis is a hot button issue. While legalizing marijuana in the U.S. has pretty much been a hot button issue since the early 1970’s, it really is different this time. It’s different this time because now cannabis advocates have a model of success to point to thanks to the hard work of some people in Colorado and other states that have legalized.

Regardless of anyone’s political leanings, it’s hard for prohibitionists to argue with $135 million collected in marijuana taxes for just one year, in just one state. If the federal government can figure out a way to get a slice of the pie, they are going to. And with a national debt of nearly $20 trillion, the U.S. federal government seems to need all the financial help they can get.

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