Americans Spend More Money On Weed Than These Three Junk Foods Combined

by Sean Levinson
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Americans apparently love marijuana a lot more than some of the delectable treats they crave after smoking it.

According to The Washington Post, new estimates compiled by ArcView Market Research and New Frontier Data indicate Americans spent $5.4 billion on marijuana legally purchased for medicinal or recreational purposes in 2015.

This trumps the $4.9 billion Americans spent last year on Doritos, Cheetos and Funyuns combined.

Even larger, however, is the estimate for the amount of money Americans spend on illegal marijuana.

Drug policy experts estimated the value of legal and illegal marijuana sales to be between $15 billion and $30 billion in 2012.

ArcView also predicted the legal cannabis market will experience a 25 percent growth this year, bringing total sales in the US to $6.7 billion in 2016, TIME reports.

This market increased by 17 percent in 2015, thanks to the over $1 billion spent on medicinal marijuana in California and the nearly $1 billion spent on medicinal and recreational marijuana in Colorado.

Washington state finished its first full year of selling recreational marijuana over the summer, bringing in over half a billion dollars in 2015.

New Frontier Data Director of Analytics John Kagia believes this year's growth can partially be attributed to an increase in the sales of edibles, which are more expensive than raw marijuana and, therefore, allow dispensaries to "capture higher sales per customer."

ArcView CEO Troy Dayton told TIME,

I think that we are going to see in 2016 this next wave of investors, the next wave of business operators, and people who've sort of been watching or dipping their toe in, really starting to swing for the fences and take it really seriously.

Legal marijuana sales are expected to increase by 30 percent every year for the next five years, according to ArcView.

This would bring total annual sales to $21.8 billion by 2020, which, as TIME points out, is more than the revenue of the NFL at this time.

ArcView's estimations, which come from the fourth edition of its annual The State of Legal Marijuana Markets report, are largely based off the increasing likelihood of more states legalizing recreational marijuana.

Approximately half a dozen states including California, Nevada and Massachusetts will vote on this issue in November.

Until then, recreational marijuana remains legal in four states -- Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska -- as well as the District of Columbia.

Citations: Americans spent more on legal weed than on Cheetos and Funyuns combined last year (The Washington Post), Legal Marijuana Sales Projected to Reach 67 Billion in 2016 (TIME)