The State Of The Legal Marijuana Market


CALIFORNIA: The state of legal marijuana markets is strong for many, yet daunting for others. The watershed implementation of full retail marijuana legalization for adults in Colorado and Washington State, coupled with the adoption of medical marijuana regulations by new states, are fueling industry growth.

Yet, even as the broadening definition of legal marijuana expands the addressable market, enforcement actions that target dispensaries, cultivators, and regulators in some states have actually contracted the overall market since the last edition of this report was published in 2011. Phases of growth and retrenchment in legal marijuana markets have been more rule than exception.

The report projects sales in 2014 to grow to $2.34 billion, an increase of 64%. At this rate, U.S. cannabis sales will outpace the worldwide growth of smartphone sales, which expanded at an impressive 46% according to Gartner. Harborside Health Center is a sponsor of this report and Steve DeAngelo is President of ArcView.

The report predicts that 14 more states will legalize adult use and 2 more states will legalize medical use over the next 5 years. These new markets plus maturation of the existing markets will create a $10.2 billion annual market potential by 2018.

Findings of the report include:

  •  California is still the largest legal cannabis market in the country at $980 million.
  •  More than 590,000 consumers will purchase cannabis legally from a retail storefront in 2013
  • Arizona is poised to be the fastest growing market expanding from $22 million in 2013 to $134 million in 2014.
  • Massachusetts will be the largest new market opening in 2014 with a $55 million market.
  • Adult-use marijuana sales in Colorado will add $359 million to the existing medical marijuana market of $260 million resulting in a combined $619 million market in 2014.
  • The transition from the medical market to an adult-use market in Washington, which won’t start until spring, will result in a combined $271 million market in 2014
  • New Jersey, Maine, Delaware and the District of Columbia markets struggle under restrictive patient access and slow regulatory processes.
  • There is increasing investment activities in retail dispensaries, cultivation businesses and ancillary businesses such as security services, point of sale software, and grow lights.
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