(ANTIMEDIA) The anti-drug war movement in the United States has benefitted greatly from the pro-marijuana sentiment spreading from sea to shining sea, and the economy is also blooming amid changing views on the plant.
According to data recently released by Marijuana Business Daily, the U.S. cannabis industry will add $44 billion to the nation’s economy by 2020 — but only if the current legalization trend continues. The figures, Yahoo! Finance reports, aren’t tied only to marijuana sales. The estimates also include the amount of money circulating as a direct result of the marijuana transactions.
Yahoo! Finance explains how sales fared in states with legal marijuana:
“As for actual sales of marijuana, that figure is estimated at $3.5 billion to $4.3 billion for this year in just states that have legalized medical and recreational use. That’s up from $3 billion to $3.4 billion last year, and in 2014 it was $2 billion to $2.4 billion.”
When it comes to the overall yearly marijuana sales market across the country, including the black market, sales have reached the $30 to $45 billion mark. By 2020, MBD projects legal sales will reach anywhere from $6 to $11 billion. With how things are going, MBD believes the U.S. cannabis industry will see a considerable increase in earnings as a whole, over time.
According to the estimates, earnings tied to the legal businesses could jump from $14 to $17 billion in 2016 to about $24 to $44 billion in the following four years.
MBD explains “the estimates attempt to capture the industry’s overall contribution to the economy, encompassing everything from revenues generated by cannabis-related companies, licensing fees and taxes to marijuana tourism, employee spending, job creation and the impact on real estate prices in a community.”
“We’re witnessing the emergence of a business that is about to become a massive economic force,” MBD’s managing editor, Chris Walsh, explained. “These figures, which we deem conservative, show not only how important the industry already is to the U.S economy at large, but also how much more important it is about to become.”
While the MBD figures are promising, Yahoo! Finance argues federal law keeping marijuana illegal may impact these estimates greatly. “Of course, the cannabis revolution could be heavily affected by a change in political regime,” the Yahoo! Finance article claims. As federal prohibition continues to make banking for marijuana businesses nearly impossible, there is a growing grassroots push to change the federal definition and scheduling of marijuana.