A new financial analysis of the medical marijuana industry by See Change Strategy, LLC, found that the market for marijuana is now $1.7 billion and likely to double in the next five years. From Medical Marijuana Markets:

The report draws on more than 300 survey responses and dozens of interviews with market participants and resulted in the following findings:

  • 24.8 million people are eligible to receive a recommendation and purchase marijuana legally under state laws, and approximately 730,000 people actually do.
  • Medical marijuana markets exist in seven states (California, Colorado, Michigan, Montana, Oregon, Washington and New Mexico) and will open this year in five more (Arizona, Maine, New Jersey, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia).
  • Current marijuana markets will double in the next five years. The two major drivers of growth will be patient access (the number of legal patients will rise) and regulatory clarity (states will adopt regulation and license processes that facilitate the sale of medical marijuana).

I suspect the medical marijuana industry, thanks to its fast growth, is approaching an important financial tipping point as it becomes legal in more states. At a certain size, it will have enough employees, related businesses who depend on it, and governments who rely on its tax revenue that it will become integral in the greater economic web. As a result, it will start gaining political clout as it becomes better able to directly lobby for its interests and becomes more important to the overall economy. Effectively, the industry will be increasingly “legitimated,” mainly because the political system won’t be able to afford not to.