Americans spent $5.4 billion on legal medical and recreational marijuana last year: more than they did on Cheetos and Doritos.
The new research was published by ArcView Market Research and New Frontier Data.
The total includes $1 billion in medical marijuana sales in California, $1 billion in legal marijuana sales in Colorado, and more than half a billion dollars in sales in Washington state.
In total, Americans spent more money on marijuana than Doritos, Cheetos and Funyons combined in 2015. Some $5.4 billion was spent for marijuana, and $4.9 in total was spent on the three snack items.
According to the Denver Post, that kind of money could get America “legally stoned” for a year or send the New Horizons probe to Pluto.
It’s important to note that this number only reflects legal marijuana sales, and that illegal sales are likely high as well. In 2012, drug policy experts Jonathan Caulkins and a team of others estimated that the illegal sale of marijuana ranged from $15 billion to $30 billion.
ArcView estimated that legal sales will rise about 30 percent over the next five years, especially if other states begin to legalize it. It’s possible that Vermont, California, Nevada, Massachusetts and a handful of other states will legalize marijuana in the fall.
"Legalization of cannabis is one of the greatest business opportunities of our time, and it's still early enough to see huge growth," the group wrote.
The group noted that plenty of changes still need to be made in the industry, like connecting federal and state policy. Because of these regulations, marijuana businesses don’t have access to banks and can’t take advantage of tax breaks that other industries benefit from.