Marijuana leaf on US currency

Report: Legal North American cannabis sales could hit $28 billion by 2021

Cannabis is arguably the fastest growing industry in the world. Canadians and Americans spent a combined $75 billion ($56.4 billion USD) on pot products in 2016, and a whopping 88 % of that sales were illegal, according to a new report by ArcView Market Research.

The report, titled “The State Of Legal Marijuana Markets,” looked at legal, medicinal and illicit markets in both Canada and the U.S. The research firm released a teaser summary of their findings this week in advance of the full report’s release next month.

Legal spending made up $9.81billion ($6.9 billion USD) of last year’s total, which is up 34 per cent from 2015. The organization predicts that number could grow to $28.75 billion ($21.6 billion USD) by 2021 thanks to projected sales increases in Canada, California and Massachusetts. However, it does note that is based on the assumption that the U.S. “does not return to waging all-out war on the cannabis industry” under the unpredictable new President Donald Trump.

In 2016, seven U.S. states voted in favour of different forms of legality. Canada plans to legalize cannabis soon, while Mexico voted to send a medical legalization bill to the Chamber of Deputies.

ArcView pointed out the obvious in that the only thing holding back the cannabis industry from truly taking off is its illegal status in many parts of the continent.

“In contrast to comparable markets which quickly grew from zero to tens of billions of dollars, such as organic foods, home video, cell phone, or the internet, the cannabis industry doesn’t need to create demand for a new product or innovation — it just needs to move demand for an already widely popular product into legal channels.”