Feb 02, 2016 06:52 AM EST

Sales Of Legal Marijuana Have Gone Up 184% - In A Year!

By R S Ali

Sales of marijuana for legal use have shot up 184% in the past year, claims the report "The State of Legal Marijuana Markets" which is a joint endeavor of marijuana industry investment firm ArcView Group and New Frontier, a cannabis analytic firm.

The report concludes that the sales numbers of the legal marijuana industry have risen from $4.6 billion in 2014 to a stunning $5.4 billion in 2015. A large part of this is played by recreational marijuana sales, which went from 351 million in 2014 to $998 million in 2015 - which is a 184% increase.

The reasons behind this increase are likely manifold. One of these reasons, according to Debra Borchardt in Forbes, is very likely America's changing attitude towards cannabis. Only 36% of Americans supported legalization of marijuana in 2005 - now 58% agree that it should be made legal, according to a Gallup poll.

As far as future predictions go, ArcView Group thinks compound annual growth rate of cannabis - which factors in both medical and recreational use - will be 30% between the years of 2014 and 2020. The group's CEO Troy Dayton has also expressed that marijuana legalization is one of the biggest business opportunities of this time; that it is still early and that he expects to see more growth.

Both New Frontier and ArcView believe that competition will only get fiercer as new growers will be introduced to the market. They also think this overall boom in the marijuana business will lead to increased focus on regulations.

The report also mentioned cannabis' energy intensive nature, claiming that the crop is the most energy intensive of all U.S. agricultural crops, and that since most of the marijuana grown is grown indoors, it takes up 1% of the nation's electrical output - costing $6 billion per year. Such uninhibited energy use cannot be sustained, according to the report.

Marijuana is one of the fastest growing industries in America, with twenty-three states permitting usage for medicinal purposes and four states (plus the District of Columbia) allowing full adult use.

Attitudes towards this changing, growing industry are varied. The pro-cannabis population claims that this growth is proof that Americans want a safe and regulated way to use cannabis. Anti-legalization groups, on the other hand, compare the sales increase with that of alcohol or tobacco, expressing concerns for public health.

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