Article by Sean Williams, Motley Fool
The marijuana industry is growing like a weed, and investors can’t seem to get enough of pot stocks. Over the trailing-two-year period, the vast majority of marijuana stocks have risen by a triple- or quadruple-digit percentage.
But, truth be told, not a lot is definitively known about the weed industry, which still operates behind a cloud of uncertainty. After all, marijuana is still illegal in every country around the world, save for Uruguay. Within the U.S., despite 29 states having legalized cannabis in some capacity, the federal government maintains a Schedule I classification on the drug, meaning it’s entirely illegal, prone to abuse, and has no recognized benefits.
In an effort to provide industry insights to Wall Street, investors, and the general public, Marijuana Business Daily publishes its “Marijuana Business Factbook” each year. “Factbook,” as the report is better known, provides a plethora of estimates on U.S. cannabis job and sales growth over the coming five-year period. This past week, the latest edition of Factbook was released, which spanned growth estimates between 2017 and 2022. Here are the seven most awe-inspiring statistics provided in that exclusive report.
1. U.S. legal weed sales could rise by nearly 50% in 2018
As is often the case with this annual report, the headline statistic is the expectation of legal weed sales growth in 2018. After generating between $5.8 billion and $6.6 billion in legal sales in 2017 — Marijuana Business Factbook often lists sales and growth estimates in ranges as opposed to a single projection — legal pot sales are expected to reach between $7.9 billion and $9.7 billion in 2018. At the midpoint of both estimates, we’re looking at 42% year-on-year growth.
The bulk of this increase will come from recreational cannabis sales, and more specifically, from California opening its doors to legal adult-use consumers. Factbook assumes minimum recreational cannabis sales of $500 million in California this year. Additionally, the launch of recreational sales in Massachusetts by this summer, along with Nevada’s burgeoning adult-use market — recreational sales in Nevada kicked off in July 2017 — should help lift sales.