Chart of the Week: 21,000-33,000 Businesses in U.S. Tied to Marijuana Industry

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By Marijuana Business Daily staff

Tens of thousands of businesses in the United States are tied to the cannabis sector in some fashion, underscoring the marijuana industry’s reach and scope.

An estimated 21,000-33,000 companies derive some or all of their revenue from the cannabis industry, according to the 2016 Marijuana Business Factbook.

The estimate includes companies that handle the plant – retailers, infused products companies, wholesale growers and testing labs – in states where medical or recreational marijuana is legal, as well as ancillary firms that serve those businesses, such as consultants and technology providers.

It also includes businesses that work with ancillary companies and those that provide services and products directly to medical marijuana patients and recreational cannabis users, such as clinics where individuals can get recommendations for MMJ.

Comparable figures for a year ago are not available, as the previous Factbook used a different methodology to estimate the number of cannabis businesses.

But the number of marijuana-related companies has no doubt been rising rapidly in recent years as the industry has grown from $1.6 billion in retail sales in 2013 to an estimated $3 billion-$3.4 billion in 2015.

Roughly a dozen new medical and recreational cannabis markets have launched since the beginning of 2014, and many existing marijuana states have seen their industries grow. That’s created thousands of new business opportunities across the spectrum.

An estimated 7,000 to 11,000 companies are directly involved with the plant, with dispensaries/rec stores and wholesale cultivators making up the bulk of this group.

The Factbook assumes that for each business working directly with marijuana, there are at least three other companies that derive revenue from the industry.

The federal government doesn’t track the number of companies in the marijuana sector, nor do some states – most notably California, the biggest MMJ market in the country. So pinpointing exact figures is difficult.

As the industry continues to grow, the number of businesses will surely rise in lockstep as well, creating many opportunities for entrepreneurs.

The launch of medical marijuana markets in Maryland and Pennsylvania in particular will create hundreds of new businesses, while the Alaska and Oregon recreational industries will also boost the number of marijuana companies substantially.

Half-a-dozen states could legalize medical or recreational marijuana this year, further fueling growth in the years to come.