California Leads Nation in Legal Marijuana Sales

More than a quarter of all legal cannabis in North America is sold right here in California, despite much stricter laws than Colorado or Washington.

Literally anyone age 21 or over can buy marijuana in Colorado and Washington, and this has been well-known for years. California, despite the passage of Prop. 64 legalizing recreational cannabis use, still weeds out most buyers by requiring they have a Medical Marijuana ID card. That requirement will remain in place for at least the rest of 2017.

Even with the additional bureaucratic burden of requiring a medical card, California still sells a lot more legal marijuana than the far more permissive states of Washington and Colorado. According to cannabis market research firm the Arcview Group, California makes up more than one-fourth of all legal marijuana sales in the 50 U.S. states plus Canada combined.

“California accounted for 27 percent of the 2016 legal market in North America,” Arcview Group notes in its recently released State of Legal Marijuana Markets report. “Colorado represented 20 percent and Washington represented 11 percent.” 

Keep in mind that those figures cover just 2016 — a period primarily before California had approved recreational marijuana. Colorado and Washington had been puffing the stuff with virtually no adult restrictions all year.

The report, which also includes Canadian cannabis sales, estimates that legal cannabis is now a $6.7 billion annual industry in North America. That’s up 34 percent from the previous year’s estimate of just over $5 billion.

The executive summary of the ArcView Group’s latest annual State of Legal Marijuana Markets report is available online for free with an email registration. Serious players in the cannabis industry can order the exhaustive full report for $597.

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