Americans Spent a Lot More on Legal Pot Than on Girl Scout Cookies in 2015

March 14, 2016, 7:41 PM UTC
Over 400 Marijuana Stores Ordered To Close As City Regulates Industry
Photograph by Kevork Djansezian—Getty Images

Move over, Thin Mints.

Thanks to the spread of states legalizing sales of marijuana in various forms, Americans spent roughly four times as much on legal pot sales in 2015 than they did on Girl Scout cookies—the popular baked treats hawked by young scouts for nearly a century. According to a new report from cannabis industry trade publication Marijuana Business Daily, the U.S. legal marijuana market—which includes medical and recreational pot sales—saw 2015 revenue between $3 billion and $3.4 billion.

As MBD notes, that total easily exceeds the $776 million worth of cookies sold by the Girl Scouts of the USA last year, even with the organization’s first full year of digital sales. In other words, while some enterprising Girl Scouts across the U.S. may have already had the brilliant idea to sell their cookies outside legal marijuana dispensaries—thus, wisely targeting the “munchies” market—those precocious cookie merchants have a lot of boxes of Trefoils and Tagalongs to sell before they catch up with the fast-growing legal pot market.

MBD also points out in its Marijuana Business Factbook 2016 that legal marijuana sales outpaced the growing e-cigarette market, which saw revenue of $1.5 billion last year.

The market for legal marijuana sales has been expanding rapidly for the past few years, as voters in more and more states back legalization efforts. Medical cannabis is now legal in 23 states and Washington, D.C., while recreational pot is now available for sale in four states with more potentially opening up legal markets following votes scheduled for this year. MBD predicts that total legal marijuana sales could reach as high as $4.3 billion this year and could total $11 billion by 2020, as the market for recreational marijuana eventually catches up to and passes the now-larger medical pot market.

The industry’s ongoing expansion has produced various forecasts from analysts looking to handicap just how high legal marijuana sales will grow over the next several years. The MBD report follows another cannabis industry forecast, released earlier this year by marijuana industry investment and research firm ArcView Market Research, which pegged this year’s total legal pot sales at an estimated $6.7 billion. ArcView also expects the legal marijuana market to see a total of $21.8 billion in annual sales by 2020.

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