According to a report from Marijuana Business Daily, the total demand for marijuana in the United States (including the black market) is estimated to be $45-50 billion each year. In comparison, ice cream generates $5.1 billion in sales each year and movie tickets generate around $11.1 billion. Assuming this number is true, the only two products generating more money every year than marijuana would be cigarettes and beer.
Legal marijuana sales account for only a small percentage of those sales though. According to the report, recreational and medicinal cannabis sales in 2016 generated a little over $4 billion. That's more than music streaming services ($2.5 billion) and Girl Scout Cookies ($776 million).
The report also found several other benefits from marijuana sales as well. They estimated that between 165,000 and 230,000 people are currently employed in the U.S. marijuana industry. They also found for every dollar spent at a marijuana dispensary, three more dollars are created in the economy.
When you look at all these numbers, you have to wonder why the heck people are still so firmly anti-marijuana. Do they not want jobs and economic prosperity in their communities? Do they want billions of dollars in sales to stay in the black market where it benefits only the dealers instead of legalizing it and allowing state and local governments to reap the rewards?
Imagine if we banned ice cream and all those sales went to the black market instead of generating sales tax like it does now. That would be pretty ridiculous.