U.S. Weed Market Growing
Faster Than Smartphones

11.06.13 Kyle Chayka

Apple may have sold five million iPhone 5s in the first weekend after launch, but if you really want to invest in a booming business — choose weed. ArcView Market Research Report released yesterday predicts that legal cannabis sales in the United States — including both medical and recreational weed in Colorado and Washington, the two states where it was legalized in 2012 — will grow 64% in 2014. That far exceeds the 46.5 percent growth that smartphones experienced in the second quarter of 2013.

The increase in weed sales predicted for 2014 could exceed the increase in smartphone sales in 2013.

It’s not an exact comparison, but the fundamental argument is powerful: The cannabis market is still so young that it has a huge amount of growth potential. We’ve heard the same from the weed entrepreneurs who are pioneering the new economy.

It’s not just business types who are excited about weed legalization. A recent Gallup poll showed that 58% of Americans — a “clear majority” — support legalizing weed. That’s a 10-point jump since last November. Politicians are also realizing that cannabis isn’t such a controversial issue anymore.

The ArcView report has plenty of useful numbers to send to your local senators. They expect the entire U.S. legal cannabis industry will grow to $2.34 billion in 2014 and could become as large as $10.2 billion by 2018, as more states pass legalization measures. The report predicts that 14 more states will legalize recreational use of the drug and two more will legalize medical use over the next five years.

Some more takeaways:

– California is still the largest legal cannabis market in the country at $980 million.
– 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, for a combined $619 million market in 2014.
– More than 590,000 consumers will purchase cannabis legally from a retail storefront in 2013

“Entrepreneurs and private investors are flocking to these markets,” report editor Steve Berg writes, adding that we are seeing a “historic period of rapid growth.” In other words, save your pennies for the first great weed IPO.