Pot Retail is Fastest Growing Industry in the United States

By Paul Gaita 02/04/15

Legal weed is poised to surpass the organic food business.

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A recent survey suggests that legal marijuana is poised to become one of the largest industries in the United States with the potential to surpass even the multimillion-dollar organic food business.

That’s the findings from The ArcView Group, an Oakland, California-based industry investment and research firm that tracks medical and recreational cannabis companies. The group conducted surveys of hundreds of marijuana retailers in states where the sale of cannabis is legal, as well as reports from secondary businesses and independent growers over the course of seven months between 2013-14.

When data from state agencies, private companies and non-profits were added to the survey results, The ArcView Group found that the market for legal marijuana in the United States had grown 74% during the period in question, from $1.5 billion in sales in 2013 to $2.7 billion the following year.

The report gives an even rosier projection for 2015, with an expected 32% growth in the market that will place it ahead of other fast-growing industries, including construction-related companies and computer systems design. This upward movement is expected to continue over the next five years, as more states pass legislation to legalize either medical or recreational marijuana, or both.

The ArcView report concludes that by 2019, state-legal marijuana industries will be worth almost $11 billion on an annual basis. Income from states where medical or recreational marijuana is legal has shown exceptionally large numbers, with California at the top with $1.3 billion and Arizona ranking as the fastest growing marijuana market in 2014 with $155 million in sales, up from more than $120 million in the previous year.

In Colorado and Washington, where marijuana retail stores are already in operation, consumers brought in more than $370 million in sales last year.

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, Amazon.com and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites.