Nearly 60% of the U.S. population now lives in states that have legalized some form of cannabis use and sales, illustrating the rising acceptance of cannabis nationwide and highlighting the industry’s immense potential for future growth.

The legal cannabis industry accelerated at a remarkable pace in 2016. North American  consumers spent $6.7 billion on legal cannabis products, up 34% from 2015.

The 34% compound annual growth rate from 2014 to 2016 was driven primarily by Colorado and Washington initiating adult-use sales. This rate of growth will subside somewhat in 2017 to 22%, as the eight states that voted to open or expand their cannabis markets on Election Day in November 2016 work to implement the new programs.

9 November 2016 three new states approved cannabis medical using: Arkansas, Florida and North Dakota. Four others that already had medical cannabis laws, legalized recreational.

Arcview Market Research (5th edition of Cannabis Market research) forecasts growth will reaccelerate beginning in 2018, as adult use sales ramp up in Canada, California, and Massachusetts along with medical sales in Florida. The passage of initiatives in California, Nevada, Massachusetts, Maine, Florida, Arkansas, Montana, and North Dakota will add $7.4 billion to the 2021 market forecast.

The size of the market for legal cannabis in the United States is projected to grow to $8.1 billion in 2017 and to $11.2 billion in 2018, that represents 21% and 38% growth over the previous years, driven largely by adult recreational sales of cannabis, the researchers found.

The overall cannabis legal market size projection for legal adult-use and medical sales in North America will reach $20.2 billion by 2021 (see graph below). That brings the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to 25%.

California accounted for 27% of the 2016 legal market in North America, Colorado represented 20% and Washington represented 11%.

Of the top 10 markets, three already have adult use sales (Oregon, Washington, and Colorado), three have just won legalization elections (California, Massachusetts and Nevada), and four more (Michigan, Maine, Florida and Arizona) are expected to have implemented adult-use programs in the next five years.

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