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Marijuana industry could surpass NFL in revenue by 2020

Cannabis has been extending its reach through legalization over the past several years.

Starting with early adopter Colorado, 37 states have passed legislation allowing adult consumption for medical and, in some cases, recreational purposes.

So how high can revenues go for this budding industry?

For 2018, revenue from both legal recreational and medical cannabis in the US was pegged at between $8.6 billion and $10 billion.

That tops spending on e-cigarettes, the Fortnite video game and Goldfish crackers combined, according to a new report of the Marijuana Business Factbook from MJBizDaily.

In a bit of irony, sales now rival Taco Bell’s annual US revenue and, by 2020, will likely surpass the projected $15 billion in yearly revenue generated by the National Football League, according to the report.

“By the end of 2023, sales of legal cannabis in the United States could exceed Americans’ collective spending on gym memberships,” said MJBizDaily Research Editor Eli McVey.

“But legal sales represent just a fraction of the estimated total potential demand for cannabis in the United States, which is roughly $50 billion to $60 billion when black-market demand is included,” McVey added.

About 20% of adult Americans are using some form of the cannabis plant either for pain management, other forms of therapy or just for fun, according to McVey.

And that number is expected to grow rapidly as more states and federal jurisdictions remove legal restrictions that have discouraged the use of the drug.

According to the report, legal marijuana will create a $39 billion to $48 billion boost for the economy this year alone, with the potential to surpass the $100 billion mark in 2023.

The number of full-time workers supporting the cannabis industry either directly or indirectly is expected to reach from 175,000 to 215,000 in 2019, an increase of 34% over 2018’s estimated 130,000 to 160,000 workers.

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