One of the fastest
It’s clear the tide is changing in both political and scientific views toward cannabis. The number of states allowing medical marijuana now totals 20 including Washington D.C. Colorado and Washington State have legalized Adult Use Sales. The industry is attracting significant media attention.
Popular opinion toward use of marijuana is rapidly changing with recent developments including Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s famous reversal on his position on marijuana’s health benefits and President Barack Obama exclaiming "I don't think [cannabis] is more dangerous than alcohol".
Following the global economic crisis of 2008 a renewed effort was made by the marijuana lobby for both decriminalization of the herb as well as legalization.
This push was ultimately successful as the prospect of taxing marijuana like alcohol or tobacco represented an inflection point in the conversation for the merits of legalization.
This culminated in marijuana being fully decriminalized and even legalized for adults 21 and up in the states of Colorado (Amendment 64) and Washington (Initiative 502).
Colorado and Washington represent only the start of this trend. On a Federal level, there have been important developments as well. Most recently US Attorney General Eric Holder in a speech to the House of Delegates indicated that he had mandated a review and modification of all Justice Department policies relating to the sentencing of non-violent drug offenders.
The map above illustrates how other states are considering decriminalization, legalization or both. These laws went into effect in December 2013 marking the first time in nearly 80 years that Americans were allowed to consume marijuana legally.
As a business opportunity marijuana legalization spawned a mini gold rush creating an entire industry from legal growing operations to secondary and tertiary businesses to support the conversion of this industry from illegal to legal.
MMJ Business Daily has done a good job of analyzing the data and projects that the current size of the legal marijuana industry in the US (only Washington and Colorado) is about $1.5 Billion and will grow to $6.0 Billion by 2018.
Keep in mind these are only the revenues for Colorado and Washington, currently the only two states offering full legalization. MMJ projects that the size of the total US market if legalized would be $46 Billion. Globally, this market is even larger with the United Nations (in a report from 2005) stating there are nearly 150 million active marijuana smokers in the world expending over $150 billion a year.
At Cannabis-Rx Inc. we believe this trend is in its infancy and that over the next decade marijuana will be fully decriminalized in most developed nations. As a business opportunity we believe that this trend is similar to the one that occurred with alcohol after prohibition and that the ultimate market opportunity could be in excess of $100 billion a year.
Dr. Sanja Gupta’s WEED is an excellent documentary on marijuana as medicine: