Legal marijuana is the fastest-growing industry in the United States and if the trend toward legalization spreads to all 50 states, marijuana could become larger than the organic food industry, according to a new report obtained by The Huffington Post. Researchers from The ArcView Group, a cannabis industry investment and research firm based in Oakland, California, found that the U.S. market for legal cannabis grew 74 percent in 2014 to $2.7 billion, up from $1.5 billion in 2013. – Huffington Post
Dominant Social Theme: Cannabis is advancing everywhere.
Free-Market Analysis: Over a year ago, we reported that the cannabis industry was poised for a powerful industrial takeoff, and now this article – and others like it – confirm what we believed.
This is no aberration. Over the next months and years there will be considerable additional information confirming the ascending legal status of cannabis and its viability as an industry.
In fact, we've reported in the last few months on several significant developments, including entrees into the industry by both Warren Buffett and Peter Thiel:
This Huffington Post article shows us how far cannabis has come and we expect more such reports in the future. Cannabis's promise has barely been scratched. More:
The group surveyed hundreds of medical and recreational marijuana retailers in states where sales are legal, as well as ancillary business operators and independent cultivators of the plant, over the course of seven months during 2013 and 2014. ArcView also compiled data from state agencies, nonprofit organizations and private companies in the marijuana industry for a more complete look at the marketplace.
"In the last year, the rise of the cannabis industry went from an interesting cocktail conversation to being taken seriously as the fastest growing industry in America," Troy Dayton, CEO of The ArcView Group and publisher of the third edition of the State of Legal Marijuana Markets, said in the executive summary of the report. "At this point, it's hard to imagine that any serious businessperson who is paying attention hasn't spent some time thinking about the possibilities in this market."
The report also projects a strong year for legal marijuana in 2015 and projects 32 percent growth in the market. Dayton said that places "cannabis in the top spot" when compared with other fast-growing industries.
Over the next five years, the marijuana industry is expected to continue to grow, with ArcView predicting that 14 more states will legalize recreational marijuana and two more states will legalize medical marijuana. At least 10 states are already considering legalizing recreational marijuana in just the next two years through ballot measures or state legislatures.
To date, four states — Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Oregon — have legalized retail marijuana. Washington, D.C., voters also legalized recreational marijuana use, but sales currently remain banned. Twenty-three states have legalized medical cannabis. Still, marijuana remains illegal at the federal level.
The report projects that, by 2019, all of the state-legal marijuana markets combined will make for a potential overall market worth almost $11 billion annually.
The report also breaks out some interesting marijuana trends from around the nation … More than 1.5 million shoppers purchased legal marijuana from a dispensary, either medical or recreational, in 2014. Five states now boast marijuana markets that are larger than $100 million, and in Colorado and Washington — the first states to open retail marijuana shops in the U.S. — consumers bought $370 million in marijuana products last year.
… If the legalization trend continues to the point that all 50 states legalize recreational marijuana. The total market value of all states legalizing marijuana would top $36.8 billion — more than $3 billion larger than the organic food industry.
"These are exciting times," Dayton said in the executive summary, "and new millionaires and possibly billionaires are about to be made, while simultaneously society will become safer and freer."
Unpack the above to realize how powerful this opportunity is. By 2019, the industry may be grossing $11 billion annually. This figure alone almost guarantees that cannabis legalization will sweep the US. States are desperately searching for revenue and cannabis is a proverbial honey pot.
Notice that full legalization ups the revenue to a projected US$37 million, larger even than the organic food industry. Growth of cannabis revenue for 2015 in the area of 32 percent provides a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy: The better the industry does, the more people want to participate and the more pressure comes on legislative bodies to make that possible.
It is fedgov itself – the entrenched drug warriors of various agencies – that is having the most trouble accepting what is taking place. But in 2015 or 2016 … at some point federal agencies will be drowned in a tidal wave of legalization.
In fact, the wisest drug warriors will make their peace or get out of the way. There is no upside at this point to fighting the trend, any more than it was sensible to resist the re-legalization of alcohol. Businesses increasingly will be willing to step out in front of the legalization trend to be seen as leaders.
High Alert has already done this – right from the beginning – but there are other entrepreneurial enterprises that will surely raise their profiles in 2015 including such uniquely positioned companies as PharmaCielo Ltd., which is focused on developing high-quality, naturally grown and processed cannabis oils and extracts in Colombia, South America.
John Knapp, CEO of PharmaCielo, has been quoted as saying that such small companies – adequately capitalized and focused singularly on their mission – can have a game-changing impact on the evolution of the cannabis enterprise as it unfolds.
Indeed, this is an evolution worth contemplating: The cannabis industry continues to unfold and small companies and startups have the ability to raise their profiles in ways that they could not in mature industries. In additon, the future is in standardized oils and extracts, which unlike erratic flower products can be accurately labelled and marketed for the benefit of both consumers and prescribing medical practioners.
Also, there are no roll-ups yet of note, and thus cannabis will continue to provide entrepreneurial and tremendous profit-making opportunities.The big boys will show up… it's only a matter of time.
As 2015 unfolds, more senior medical professionals are deciding to join the trend. In early January we noted The Times of India had reported on a call by top Indian oncologists to "lift the ban on production of medical marijuana in order to make it available for study in the treatment of cancer and the negative effects of cancer treatment."
Now the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is taking the stance that "[m]arijuana use should be decriminalized and federal officials should reclassify cannabis as a less dangerous drug to spur vital medical research."
AAP is "the leading group of U.S. pediatricians" and the update to its 2004 policy statement on marijuana also recognized it "may be a treatment option for kids 'with life-limiting or severely debilitating conditions for whom current therapies are inadequate'," reported NBC.
That new stance is welcome news to some 200 families with ill children who recently moved to Colorado – where marijuana is legal for adults – in searches for last-ditch cures. Those remedies include the pot strain called Charlotte's Web, which anecdotally has been shown to control seizures in some kids.
"We don't want to marginalize families who feel like this is the only option for their child because of crisis," said Dr. Sharon Levy, chair of AAP's committee on substance abuse and assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. She was one of the statement's co-authors. …
[T]he pediatricians' group will now suggest that the federal government change marijuana from a Schedule I illegal drug (where it's classified along side heroin) to a Schedule II controlled substance, Levy said.
As pointed out above, the legal cannabis trend is one elite meme worth celebrating. Unlike many others, it is not nearly so controversial because by and large it promotes a medical truth: Cannabis is an age-old herb with considerable healing properties.
Used for thousands, even tens of thousands of years, cannabis should never have been criminalized in the first place. And its criminalization over the past 70 years will soon be seen as an aberration.
2015 will soon see the flow of expanded profits creating additional freshly-minted millionaires … as forward-looking industry participants grasp a truly unique opportunity. This is one dominant social theme with relatively little downside at the moment.
It is an exciting time to be a cannabis entrepreneur or investor. We certainly have decided on at least one company, PharmaCielo, that should prove to be an excellent candidate to share a top spot amongst industry leaders. To learn more aboout the trend and PharmaCielo's unique positioning within it, click here now to watch a short video presentation.