Despite the false (and fast disappearing) lazy stoner stereotype, most people who smoke weed are not burnouts. In fact, the majority are professionals with steady jobs and a good deal of extra cash to spend regularly on cannabis.
A recent study from the Cannabis Consumers Coalition looked at how much money cannabis users make and how much they spend on getting high or medicating. Only 20 percent of people who consume cannabis make less $26,000 per year; meanwhile 35 percent make between $26,000 and $55,000 annually. Moreover, 27 percent of cannabis consumers come from a household of fruitful professionals with a combined income of over $75,000 per year.
With so much disposable income, these breadwinners, or rather budwinners, are spending a lot per year on weed — on average, $600 annually to be exact. The study found that 19 percent of cannabis consumers spend $100 a month, and that 21 percent spend more than $200 a month on weed. The upper echelon of consumers spend even more than $300 a month on cannabis.
“Cannabis consumers are professional adults who vote and have considerable power with their dollars to impact business revenue,” wrote study author Larisa Bolivar, in the report. According to a 2016 Gallup poll, 13 percent of the American population have admitted to cannabis use — given this information, Bolivar says that if weed were legal nationally, there would be approximately just over 40 million potential customers, who, if they spend an average of $600 per year, would support a $24 billion annual industry in cannabis sales.
Already, cannabis sales in North America grew by 30 percent in 2016, reaching a total of $6.7 billion in the legal American and Canadian Markets, according to Arcview Market Research. By 2021, if cannabis sales continue to grow at a compound annual 25 percent rate, they’re projected to reach $20.2 billion (that number takes into account Canada’s up and coming legal adult use cannabis industry). As Forbes points out, the cannabis industry’s growth rate is larger and faster than the dot-com era, when GDP grew at a pace of 22 percent. “Thirty percent is an astounding number especially when you consider that industry is in early stages.” writes Debra Borchardt.
According to Tom Adams, editor-in-chief of Arcview, the only other consumer industries to reach $5 billion in annual spending and achieve a 25 percent annual growth in the following five years were cable television (19 percent) and broadband internet (29 percent).
So if anti-weed Attorney General Jeff Sessions doesn’t put too much of a dent in the cannabis industry, could weed get bigger than the internet?