Quantifying revenue and other information on the marijuana industry used to be impossible. But thanks to legalization in Colorado, Washington, and other states, data on the rapidly growing business is now emerging.
According to a new report from cannabis news site Marijuana Business Daily, the nation's legal marijuana industry will generate $10 billion by the end of 2015. Only $3.1 billion of the total will be made from cannabis sales, with the balance coming from ancillary products and services. The report is based on a survey of 1,000 business owners and their financial backers.
In Colorado, which legalized recreational pot at the beginning of last year and has become the most country's most mature and robust market, the industry is estimated to be worth about $2 billion. And with numerous recreational or medical marijuana markets already up and running or soon to be so across the nation, the business is only getting bigger. Earlier this week, the governor of Puerto Rico announced the commonwealth's medical marijuana program. By 2019, the report found, the value of the industry in the U.S. will total around $30 billion.
Below, check out more of the report's findings.
Let there be jobs
Marijuana Business Daily''s report estimates that the industry employs between 46,000 and 60,000 people, a range that includes only companies that grow or sell the plant. If ancillary products and services companies were included, the report says, the total number of jobs could be as much as 50 percent greater. The report points out that a unique aspect of marijuana-industry jobs--which include positions such as horticulturists, trimmers, budtenders, and scientists--is that they cannot be outsourced to a different country or state.
The report also found that for every dollar of legally sold cannabis, an additional $2.60 of value enters the U.S. economy. To reach that number, Marijuana Business Daily traced revenues from cultivators, testing labs, security, software required to track the growth and sales of all products, and salaries of all the employees working in the industry.
A startup industry
The legal pot industry first started in 1996, when California lifted its ban on medical marijuana. Still, according to the report only about a quarter of all marijuana businesses are more than four years old, while more than half are a year old or less (including 26 percent that are still in pre-launch mode).
The majority of businesses are in search of capital, the report found. About 70 percent of retail businesses, 60 percent of infused products manufacturers, 50 percent of wholesale growers, and 50 percent of testing lab companies are currently seeking or planning to seek funding from investors.
When asked to forecast their business prospects over the next year, roughly half of people surveyed in the industry say they expect "booming growth." Optimism was greatest among makers of infused products, with 65 percent of respondents saying their business would be booming 12 months from now.