We know that the cannabis industry is rapidly expanding - and according to new data released in the Marijuana Business Factbook 2016, the legal marijuana industry could inject as much as $44 billion into America's economy within the next 4 years.

The MBD based its estimates on revenues generated by cannabis-related companies, licensing fees and taxes to marijuana tourism, job creation and the impact of the cannabis industry on real estate prices. They also collected data on the retail sales of medical and recreational marijuana flower, infused products and concentrates.

The report estimates that retail marijuana sales will hit between $3.5 billion and $4.3 billion in 2016, up roughly 17-26 percent from $3 billion-$3.4 billion last year.

"Additionally," according to MBD, "sales of recreational cannabis could surpass those of medical marijuana as early as 2018, though [medical marijuana] revenue will continue to make up a big piece of the pie."

What the future holds

While the outcome of this fall's presidential election and pushback from anti-cannabis groups could present hurdles for entrepreneurs and consumers, it's unlikely that the industry will experience much long-term fallout given the current momentum.

Several key states, including California, Nevada and Massachusetts, appear likely to legalize recreational cannabis in the November election, while Florida and Ohio contemplate legalizing medical marijuana.

"These would be huge new markets for the marijuana industry, propelling its growth for years to come," said Chris Walsh, managing editor of Marijuana Business Daily. "At this point, marijuana executives are holding their collective breath and hoping for a big November."