In spite of the many roadblocks created by federal prohibition, the cannabis industry in the U.S. is booming, and financial analysts believe this expansion will continue accelerating into the next decade. New projections to be released in this year's Marijuana Business Factbook report that retail sales of recreational and medical cannabis combined are expected to reach $8-10 billion this year, potentially doubling the amount sold last year. By 2022, sales are expected to reach as high as $22 billion.
The report, first highlighted in an exclusive by Marijuana Business Daily, predicts that the recreational market will expand significantly. The medical cannabis market is also tipped to expand, though at a more gradual pace. This year, medical sales are expected to bring in as much as $4.5 billion, up from an estimated $3.1-3.7 billion last year. The growth is driven by new medical marijuana programs kicking off in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Florida, as well as expansions of qualifying conditions in many states.
Recreational sales may even beat medical cannabis sales this year, as new adult-use markets kick off in California and Massachusetts. California's new recreational market is expected to bring in at least $500 million this year, even though the industry has gotten off to a slow start. State financial analysts expected to be drawing in as much as $175 million by June, but current estimates report that only $34 million has been collected as of this March.
A new report by Moody's Investors Service casts doubt on claims that legal weed can be a major source of revenue for state governments, stating that pot sales tax revenue accounts for only a tiny percentage of the total tax revenue in canna-legal states. The report also predicts that the cannabis industry as a whole is beginning to stabilize, and is likely to slow in the near future.
The Factbook report, however, is still betting on expansion, not contraction. Even in Colorado and Washington, where the recreational market is beginning to plateau, adult-use sales are expected to total over $2 billion this year. And during this year's 4/20 holiday, an estimated $80 million to $1.2 billion of legal weed was sold in just one week.