WASHINGTON, D.C.– Medical marijuana is now a $1.7 billion market, according to a new report released today by See Change Strategy LLC, an independent financial analysis firm that specializes in new and unique markets. To put that number in perspective, it will soon rival the annual sales of Viagra.
But that's really just the beginning. This year we'll see dispensaries opening in Arizona, Rhode Island, Maine, New Jersey, and quite possibly even the Nation's Capital. Projections show the market doubling within five years, which should be sufficient to insulate it from significant political attacks in the future.
Money talks when it comes to politics, and now that the real numbers are beginning to circulate, our opponents can prepare to descend into new depths of embarrassing incoherence. The drug czar is fond of claiming that the costs of marijuana legalization will outweigh the financial gains, so maybe he can explain himself in more detail now that we have some concrete data to consider. I'd really like to know how exactly this $1.7 billion is going to make us poor.
There's a simple choice here between wasting billions arresting all kinds of people or making billions by replacing criminal organizations with legitimate licensed businesses. The facts speak for themselves, only louder this time. The benefits of legalization are more than speculation, they are a measurable economic event that already surrounds us and continues to evolve in exciting ways. Everyone – even our most vehement opponents – knows what has to happen next.
Full disclosure: I was involved in the development of the report as a part-time research assistant. It was fun.