The Legal Marijuana Industry Is Soaring—And 2019 Could Be Its Best Year Yet

December 27, 2018, 1:28 PM UTC

Investors and entrepreneurs are taking full advantage of increasingly supportive legislation, according to a new report.

The legal marijuana industry grew to $10.4 billion in the U.S. this year and employs more than 250,000 people, senior economist and vice president at analytics firm New Frontier Data Beau Whitney told the Associated Press in an interview. Whitney added that in 2018, alone, investors invested $10 billion into the North American legal marijuana industry. Just $5 billion was invested in the three years prior. Next year, Whitney believes investors will funnel more than $16 billion into the industry.

Marijuana has been gaining in support over the last few years both across North America and internationally. In the U.S., dozens of states allow marijuana to be used for medicinal purposes and some states, including California and Massachusetts, have made it legal for recreational use. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is pushing his state to legalize recreational use in 2019.

Internationally, countries are either adopting a full-fledged medical marijuana or recreational marijuana policy. And nearly everyone working in the industry believes it’s poised for impressive growth in the coming years.

Still, challenges exist. As long as marijuana is illegal on a federal level, getting banks to accept deposits from the companies is extremely difficult. Insurance companies are also loath to insure marijuana companies and some landlords don’t want to rent to the companies.

If there’s anything most people agree on, however, it’s that the marijuana industry is poised for growth both in the U.S. and internationally. And that could mean big things for savvy investors and business people.