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Legal cannabis market worldwide from 2016 to 2024

The legal cannabis market has had explosive growth since several states in the United States legalized recreational consumption. With Canada legalizing recreational consumption nationwide and the growing popularity of the plant in the United States, the global legal cannabis market is set to reach over 63 billion dollars in value by 2024.

The legal landscape

Since 1970’s passage of the Controlled Substances Act, cannabis has been outlawed as a Schedule I drug (the most restrictive of drug categories) in the United States. Despite legalization on a state level, cannabis is still federally illegal to possess, manufacture and sell. In 2012, Washington and Colorado became the first two states to legalize recreational use of cannabis. Today, recreational cannabis use is legal in 10 states and medical use is legal in 33.

Where the market is

California had the most sales of legal cannabis in the United States in 2018. Two and a half billion dollars were spent on cannabis in the state. Colorado’s more mature market brought in 1.5 billion. By 2025, California is forecast to be responsible for 27.4 percent of the entire U.S. legal market. The black market is still strong, even in legal states. In California in particular, where the price of a legal gram of marijuana is often substantially higher than black market prices, the total legal and illicit market was roughly 5.6 billion dollars.

Forecast legal cannabis spending worldwide from 2016 to 2024

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Release date

February 2018


North America

Survey time period


Supplementary notes

* Estimates based on the compound annual growth rate provided by the source.

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