In many countries around the world, taking a “hit” of marijuana is still prohibited and the sale of weed is considered a criminal activity. However, recent changes in law, medical science, and public perception has made Marijuana the next big business.

From what used to be seen as a legal and social problem, marijuana is now evolving into a billion-dollar industry due to recent findings about its safe and beneficial use for recreation and medicinal purposes.

The idea of legally cultivating, manufacturing, transporting, and selling marijuana was simply unthinkable a few decades back. During the 1970s, marijuana was considered a “Schedule 1” drug, or a substance that was given the highest level of prohibition in the United States. All that has changed with California’s Proposition 64.

Based on information from California’s Legislative Analyst’s Office or LAO, it is “now legal for individuals over the age of 21 to possess, cultivate, and sell marijuana”.  Specifically, persons aged 21 and above can legally possess up to an ounce of the substance and grow a maximum of six marijuana plants at home.  Of course, there are many other details that need to be known and understood by people interested in possessing cannabis.

In 2016, the State of California passed a law referred to as the “Control, Regulate, and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act”, or simply Proposition 64.  The law enabled the sale of recreational marijuana in California from January 2018.  As early as 1996, California led the way in the legal sale of marijuana for medical purposes through Proposition 215.

In the United States, it is now legal to possess and use marijuana for recreation in nine states while medical use of marijuana is allowed in Washington, D.C. and 30 states.

The laws that paved the way for recreational and medicinal use of weed also opened a wide opportunity for business for many investors, manufacturers, distributors, and other players.

According to Business Insider, the legal weed industry could possibly match the sales performance of beer and wine in the United States. As a whole, industry watchers predict that the legal marijuana business would have a compound annual growth rate or CAGR of 17% which translates to an estimated $47 Billion in yearly sales.

Experts claim that the enormous growth of the industry is attributed largely to the recreational weed market which also covers other marijuana-based products that are in concentrate form or those that are edible.

In an earlier CNN report, the demand for retail and medical marijuana was so large that long lines of customers flocked to authorized dispensaries that soon ran out of stock. In 2014, CNN reported that in Colorado alone, retail and medical marijuana sales soared to an estimated $610 Million, a staggering amount that raised $184 million in revenue taxes for the state.

By 2017, legal marijuana sales in North America raked in at least $9.7 Billion, a 33% increase in sales from the previous year.  Broken down by industry segment, medical marijuana sales totalled $3.2 Billion at an average price per ounce of $320, while recreational weed is seen to be the “growth driver” by posting $2.7 Billion in sales in California state alone. According to a comprehensive new report from Arcview Market Research. Recreational cannabis spending is expected to outpace medical marijuana sales for the first time in 2019.

As public perception and government regulations adjust to Proposition 64, the business prospects for the legal marijuana industry only seem to get brighter.  The economic impact is for real and more people and companies are gearing to cash in and get a “high” profit in 2018 and beyond.