Legal marijuana sales in the U.S. expected to hit $33 billion this year

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Pot is popular.

Legal sales of marijuana are expected to top $33 billion by the end of 2022, according to a new study by MJBiz, a leading B2B cannabis industry resource. That’s a 32% increase over 2021’s total of $25 billion.

And by 2026, the group estimates, annual sales will exceed $52 billion.

The surge comes as more states open up to medicinal and recreational marijuana, including potentially big markets such as New Jersey. And it could have an even bigger overall economic impact.

“While federal legalization flounders in Washington, D.C., the American cannabis industry’s economic impact could near $100 billion by end of 2022 and nearly $158 billion by 2026,” said Jenel Stelton-Holtmeier, editor of MJBiz Factbook. “This means that for every $1 consumers and patients spend at adult-use stores and dispensaries, an additional $1.80 will be injected into the economy, much of it on a local level.”

At present, the cannabis industry in the U.S. is responsible for roughly 520,000 jobs—a number that’s expected to exceed 800,000 by 2026.

Right now, more than three-quarters (77%) of the U.S. population resides in a state with some form of legalized cannabis, says MJBiz. And all states that don’t have some form of legalization share at least one border with one that does. Of the population that does not have some form of legal access to recreational or medicinal marijuana, Texas makes up one-third of the total.

Earlier this month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that would legalize marijuana nationwide. Several big businesses have backed federal legalization as well. Despite that, the legislation has not moved forward in the Senate, and it would be unlikely to pass at present.

At present, 37 states and Washington, D.C., have enacted laws legalizing medical marijuana. And 18 states and D.C. have legalized pot for recreational purposes.

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