After being the first state to pass legislation permitting the use of medical marijuana, California has been stuck there for 20 years. Legalization advocates are working to get recreational sales legalized in this year’s November elections. A decriminalization initiative failed in 2010, and this year’s hopes are diluted by the possibility of more than one measure making it on the ballot.
Medical marijuana sales already surpass $2.7 billion in the state, but the bonanza will come when recreational use is legal for California’s 39 million residents. Medical marijuana sales are actually forecast to fall between now and 2020 as a result of recent legislation tightening oversight and regulation of the industry.
If California does legalize recreational marijuana use, by 2018 the total state market for cannabis could reach $6.6 billion, according to the fourth edition of the “State of Legal Marijuana Markets” report compiled by New Frontier and ArcView Market Research. The legal market in 2015 in the United States totaled $5.7 billion, up from $4.6 billion in 2014, an increase of 24%.
ArcView CEO Troy Dayton said:
California’s legal medical cannabis market is the largest of any state, responsible for 62% of the country’s total medical cannabis sales in 2015 and over half of all legal cannabis sales (medical and adult use markets combined). All eyes are on California as voters decide on whether to legalize adult-use in the state in November. Success at the ballot box would massively increase California’s total legal market share.
According to a report at the Riverside, Calif., Press Enterprise, a March poll showed support for legalization at 53%, the highest it’s been since the pollsters started asking the question in 2010. That could indicate that getting the initiative passed this year could be another cliffhanger.