Organic foods currently bring about $33 billion each year, and it is estimated that the legal marijuana market could bring in closer to $36 billion each year once every state ends prohibition.
The third edition of the ArcView Group's State of Legal Marijuana Markets report found that cannabis is the fastest growing industry in the United States. This report revealed that $2.7 billion was spent in the cannabis industry in 2014, which is a 74 percent increase from $1.5 billion in 2013.
Cannabis: The Next Great American Industry
The ArcView Group is the legal cannabis industry's premier hub for investment, data and progress.
If this trend continues as more states legalize, it is predicted that the cannabis industry could easily be worth more than the organic food market. By 2019, the cannabis industry could be worth over $10 billion as new markets join and existing ones expand. This information puts companies like whole foods at a cross road. The plant is still illegal nationwide with state by state exceptions, though, the demand is up and increasing.
As a company do you adapt and sell cannabis in states where permitted or wait till full legalization country wide? If companies like Whole Foods adapt now, it will mean growing with the market. If they wait, it will mean watching the market overgrow them.
Cannabis concentrates, hemp lotions and foods, edibles and other products account for a large portion of the current legal market. Could items like these end up on the shelves of large food industry leaders like Whole Foods?
Whole Foods CEO, John Mackey, indicated he would be open to the idea only if the plant and infused products were fully legalized and accepted by the local communities.