Economy

Here's How Much Money Marijuana Will Make This Year

A new report from a cannabis investment group called ArcView Market Research predicts the marijuana industry will reach $6.7 billion in sales this year and almost $22 billion by 2020. That means it could become a bigger industry than the NFL.

In 2015, research firm GreenWave Advisors said the marijuana industry could be a $35 billion market by 2020 — if it was legal in all 50 states.

Last year saw roughly $5.4 billion in sales, which was up from roughly $4.6 billion in 2014, according to ArcView estimates. ArcView's latest report was made in cooperation with the cannabis data analysis firm New Frontier, and it includes medical sales, cannabis products, recreational sales, delivery and more.

"The projection seems in line, but it's my personal belief that it will be higher (no pun intended) come 2016, because more astute investors are pouring into various markets opening up, such as Nevada," Jason Spatafora, a marijuana industry investor and owner of marijuanastocks.com, told ATTN:. He said that only six months ago many of the people currently investing were still "gun shy" about it.

Spatafora said he sees no end in sight for the growth of marijuana sales, and he thinks the elevated level of money flowing through the industry will encourage policy changes in the U.S. government.

purple marijuana

"Hopefully it also means that the archaic classification of cannabis is changed from Schedule 1 to Schedule 3, because under current federal designation cannabis has no medical benefits, which anyone can see by big pharma's attempt to synthesize it (and lobby hard in opposition) makes that argument categorically false," Spatafora said. He jokes that we thought the world was flat for a long time, too.

One thing the ArcView report does not touch on is hemp products. Spatafora said hemp products and industrial hemp are already coming into the market and will also have a major impact.

A disturbing history

Marijuana has come a long way since it was stigmatized in the early 1900s. Where it was once sold in pharmacies across the country, it is now limited to the the four states and the District of Columbia where it is legal, along with the 23 states where medical marijuana is legal. That said, marijuana sales in those states have been huge in recent years, and sales there are only expected to climb.

marijuana money

RELATED: The Real Reason Why Marijuana Is Illegal in the U.S.