The cannabis industry has undergone rapid expansion over the last few decades as recreational and medical marijuana has been legalized in many states. Medical marijuana is now legal in 33 states and the District of Columbia, while recreational use is legal in 10 states and the District of Columbia.

According to a recent New York Post article, revenue from the US cannabis industry reached between $8.6 and $10 billion in 2018. By 2020, this value will likely exceed the projected $15 billion in yearly revenue generated by the NFL. These findings are based on the Annual Marijuana Business Factbook 7th Edition, published by MJBizDaily.

According to MJBizDaily Research Editor Eli McVey, about 20% of US adults currently use medical or recreational marijuana. As additional states pass legislation legalizing marijuana use, this percentage is likely to grow. 

According to the report, the cannabis industry will contribute up to $48 billion to the US economy in 2019 and the total potential market could swell to up to $60 billion, taking black-market cannabis sales into account. This contribution may grow to a staggering $100 billion by 2023. 

The growing cannabis industry also impacts the job market, with up to 215,000 full-time cannabis industry workers estimated in 2019. This huge growth represents an increase of 34% compared to the number of workers in 2018.

Is Marijuana Dangerous to Society at This Level?

The exponential growth of the cannabis industry has both positive and negative implications for society. Positive impacts include increased economic and job growth, tax revenues for public projects and better access to products for medical marijuana patients.

However, marijuana is now the most commonly abused illicit substance in the United States. The current edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5) includes a diagnosis of cannabis use disorder along with diagnostic standards for addiction. A broader cannabis industry will likely mean an increase in marijuana addiction and an increased need for addiction treatment programs.

An expanding marijuana industry also means extensive marketing campaigns will continue to grow. Increased marketing, in turn, will lead to more use and will expose children and young adults to marijuana. This is an important consideration as marijuana use in children and young adults may negatively impact their brain development, academic performance, memory and learning. There is also evidence that marijuana use may make mental illness symptoms worse. Marijuana use can also negatively impact job performance, general mental health and relationships with friends and family. 

Proper regulation of the rapidly expanding cannabis industry is needed to limit the negative societal impacts.

For more information on how you or a loved one can begin on the road to a marijuana-free life, contact The Recovery Village. Our treatment teams can help you gain the skills needed to live your life without substance abuse.