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How Does It Feel To Be In A $1-Billion Industry That Outsells Oreo Cookies?

More and more Americans are spending more on legal cannabis - and in Colorado, the gains aren't expected to decrease anytime soon.

Incredibly, folks in the Evergreen State spent almost a billion dollars on marijuana products in 2015, topping exponentially the sales of consumer products ranging from Oreo cookies to Dasani bottled water, according to data released by Forbes,. The total expenditures - some $996,184,788 - meant that the state also collected more than $135-million in taxes on legal cannabis sales, which goes primarily toward funding schools and drug-education initiatives.

The legal cannabis industry also continues to create new jobs in Colorado: some 26,929 occupational licenses had been issued as of December 2015 – an increase of 68 percent over the previous year - and the actual number of people working in the industry could be much higher than the officially-reported figures.

It's little wonder that business owners in Colorado are feeling optimistic about growth in 2016. According to chart recently released by the Marijuana Business Daily, 40 percent of entrepreneurs and executives surveyed across the industry predict that their businesses will boom over the next 12 months.

Testing, wholesale cultivation and retail were among the most significant areas of potential growth. The survey of nearly 1,000 professionals "indicates that many executives are confident not only in their own companies but also in the overall market," according to the MBD.

Another signifier that legal cannabis, and the attendant profits, are here to stay? The increasing push for mainstream acceptance (and mainstream cash) by cannabis businesses.

MassRoots, Inc., the cannabis-lover's social networking site that has 775,000 users and 380,000 followers on Instagram, has just filed to be NASDAQ's first-ever cannabis stock. The company, which had revenues of $213,963 in 2015, but reported a net loss of approximately $8-million, plans to generate most its future revenue from advertising. A decision from NASDAQ on whether to approve MassRoots for a listing is expected in the coming weeks.

As MBD points out, "the high level of uncertainty in markets that are facing regulatory changes [...] makes it difficult to plan for the future." Nonetheless, one thing is clear: even with rapid legislative changes shifting the culture around the herb, "most markets are seeing extraordinary growth and expect the good times to continue."


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