Legal marijuana sales expected to hit $75 billion by 2030, say analysts
05/22/2018 // David Williams // Views

The legalization of marijuana across the U.S. could hold many economic benefits. This is according to analysts who have studied the subject and tried to project the kind of revenue that could be at stake. Based on their estimates, the market for truly legal marijuana could be worth well over what it is now.

To be more specific, a legal marijuana industry that spans the entire country could end up generating up to $75 billion in annual sales by 2030. This is based on projections done by the investment bank Cowen, which has its own cannabis sector analyst that serves as its own in-house expert on the matter.

In an earlier estimate, Vivien Azer, Cowen's cannabis sector, pegged the projected sales revenue of a nationwide marijuana industry at just $50 billion. However, she mentioned in the latest note that legal marijuana sales have already hit the $50 billion mark, and so she increased her current estimate by $25 billion.

In comparison, soda consumption in the U.S. has seen a sharp decline. As a Bloomberg report states, per capita consumption of soda has fallen to a new 31-year low in 2016, and sales only amounted to $76.4 billion in 2017. It's unclear how much legal marijuana is affecting these soda sales figures, but it is said that alcohol sales are definitely feeling their impact on the market. (Related: Alcohol vs. cannabis: Study shows booze to be 10x more dangerous for drivers.)

According to Azer, marijuana has certain qualities that make it useful in social settings, thereby cutting down the need for the use of other substances. "This work builds on our prior assertions that cannabis acts as a substitute social lubricant for consumers," she said. "As cannabis access expands, we expect further pressure on alcohol sales, given this notable divide in consumer consumption pattern."


Despite its noticeable effect on the alcohol market, however, legal marijuana sales still lag far behind actual sales of alcohol. In 2017, alcohol sales hit the $210 billion mark, and this was mentioned in the note. But things may change in the coming years. Right now, the primary market for marijuana consists of older consumers, mainly those aged 55 and above. But that, too, may change over time.

There are only nine states that allow or are planning to allow the sale and consumption of marijuana legally in the U.S. but that already represents almost one-quarter of the entire U.S. population. With this in mind, future legal marijuana sales could end up being a tax windfall. The note made sure to mention this, saying that the industry could be expected to generate up to $17.5 billion in tax revenue by 2030.

Clearly, marijuana legalization will have a number of clear benefits to the public. But it may be a long wait before the world gets to that point. Although legal in some places, marijuana is still largely considered an illegal substance in most parts of the world, and the U.S. is no exception. With that said, the times have certainly changed and more and more people are becoming more accepting of it. Even healthcare professionals have begun to change their tune in regards to its use. All of that is to say that it may only be a matter of time before marijuana becomes well and truly legal in every sense of the word, and something that can be enjoyed and used for its practical and medicinal benefits not just in the U.S. but also across the globe.

Learn more about the ins and outs of marijuana legalization in

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