Legal Recreational Marijuana Sales Near $1 Billion

Photo (cc) by Brett Levin Photography

Legalized recreational marijuana sales are on a roll, reaching nearly $1 billion in 2015, says a new report that predicts sales will continue to grow in 2016.

Recreational sales for adults grew 184 percent to $998 million from just $351 million in 2014, according to the fourth edition of “The State of Legal Marijuana Markets.” That is a joint report from ArcView Market Research and New Frontier, a cannabis analytics firm.

The sale of marijuana for recreational use is legal in Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia.

The report estimates that total legal cannabis sales nationally — including medical marijuana programs in 23 states and Washington, D.C. — grew to $5.4 billion from $4.6 billion in 2014.

The report says demand will remain strong in 2016, pushing legal markets to grow to $6.7 billion, a nearly 25 percent increase over 2015. By 2020, legal market sales have the potential to reach $21.8 billion, with adult use sales making up about two-thirds of sales.

“By almost every metric the legalization and regulation of adult use” has been a success in Colorado, where recreational sales began in January 2014, and Washington state, which began recreational sales in July 2014, the report says:

Crime is down, falling prices have made the legal market increasingly competitive against the black market, regulatory compliance is high as businesses dare not risk losing their valuable licenses, and product quality and diversity has increased.

However, Keith Humphreys, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Stanford University School of Medicine and marijuana policy researcher, was less enthusiastic. He told the International Business Times:

“If one of our long-legal drugs, alcohol or tobacco, had this kind of dizzying rise in sales, would there be a breathless, braggy press release about it? Americans have internalized culturally that explosive growth in adult tobacco and/or alcohol sales is a cause for concern, but not that explosive growth in cannabis sales is too.”

Voters in California, Nevada, Arizona, Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island and Vermont will decide on legalization of recreational use this year, and Florida, Ohio, Missouri and Pennsylvania will vote on medical marijuana legalization, says MarketWatch.

Nearly 6 in 10 Americans favor the legalization of marijuana, according to a recent Gallup poll.

How do you feel about marijuana legalization? Sound off in our Forums. It’s the place where you can speak your mind, explore topics in-depth, and post questions and get answers.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
12 Things Everyone Should Stop Buying This Year
12 Things Everyone Should Stop Buying This Year

These convenient household products come with hidden costs that you might not have considered.

12 Products to Keep Your Car Clean and Organized
12 Products to Keep Your Car Clean and Organized

These items will help put your vehicular mess to rest — and each is available for less than $20 on Amazon.

3 Bank Accounts With Perks for Customers Age 55 and Older
3 Bank Accounts With Perks for Customers Age 55 and Older

These checking accounts offer exclusive discounts and other perks — including interest — to older customers.

15 Great Amazon Finds You Can Buy for Less Than $5
15 Great Amazon Finds You Can Buy for Less Than $5

These products offer big value at a small price.

9 Free Things That Used to Cost Us Money
9 Free Things That Used to Cost Us Money

Not everything is getting more expensive.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco

This leader in bulk shopping is a great place to find discounts in the fixed-income years.

Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines
Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines

Fall is the time to schedule vaccines that can keep you healthy — and even save your life.

11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older
11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older

There is no need to wait until you’re 65 to take advantage of so-called “senior” discounts.

11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous
11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous

When you get the impulse to stockpile these everyday items, pay close attention to their expiration dates.

8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies
8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies

In this age of higher-priced drugs and complex health care systems, a trip to the pharmacy can spark worry. Freebies sure do help.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020
These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America
The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America

A new model parks atop the list of vehicles that thieves love to pilfer.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62
10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62

If you can, here are several good reasons to retire earlier than we’re told to.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income
26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income

These states won’t tax any of your Social Security income — and in some cases, other types of retirement income.

14 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare
14 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare

These services could save you money and help prevent costly health problems.

5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles
5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles

Pushing your car to 200,000 miles — and beyond — can save you piles of cash. Here’s how to get there.

5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees
5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees

Retirees agree: These are the things that give them purpose and fulfillment in their golden years.

10 Things You Should Never Do With Bleach
10 Things You Should Never Do With Bleach

Does the pandemic have you reaching for bleach more than ever before? Learn the ins and outs of using this powerful disinfectant.

15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.