Chart: Retail marijuana sales surpass Fortnite video game, closing in on Taco Bell, NFL

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With revenue of $8.6 billion-$10 billion, 2018 sales of legal recreational and medical cannabis in the United States topped spending on e-cigarettes, the Fortnite video game and Goldfish crackers combined.

The data – published in the 2019 edition of the Marijuana Business Factbook – highlights how quickly the legal U.S. marijuana industry has grown.

It now rivals Taco Bell’s annual U.S. revenue and, by 2020, will likely surpass yearly revenue figures generated by the National Football League.

By the end of 2023, sales of legal cannabis in the United States could exceed Americans’ collective spending on gym memberships.

Continued sales gains in recreational markets as well as the rapid development of medical marijuana programs in newly legalized states will spur much of that growth over the coming year.

Over the long term, however, recreational markets will account for most of the sales growth.

Though California’s massive adult-use industry underperformed expectations in its first year, the state’s sales are projected to eclipse $6 billion annually in just a few years.

Further rec sales growth will come from newly legalized states such as Illinois, Maine and Michigan – and will likely come at the expense of those states’ MMJ programs.

From 2018 to 2023, sales of legal cannabis in the United States are expected to grow by nearly 200%.

But legal sales represent just a fraction of the estimated total potential demand for cannabis in the United States, which is roughly $50 billion-$60 billion when black-market demand is included.

That’s how much revenue the industry could generate if the federal government legalized marijuana nationwide and all markets were up and running.

Eli McVey can be reached at