Legalization of marijuana across the U.S. is being projected to become a larger success than the organic food industry, and if so, Whole Foods and other major retailers could very well jump on the bandwagon.
“It’s possible that Whole Foods could be the Whole Foods of cannabis,” said an insider at the ArcView Group that does market analyses on the marijuana industry.
When asked at a panel if Whole Foods would ever sell marijuana, Whole Foods CEO reportedly said only if the it were legal to use and the local community approved.
The ArcView Group’s 3rd State of Legal Marijuana Markets report found that if legalized nationwide, the U.S. marijuana industry would surpass the $33.1 billion organic food industry by approximately $3 billion.
“I’ve studied the growth of the nutrition and the organic food industries for years,” said Patrick Rea, executive editor of the ArcView report. “I believe the cannabis industry will be an even bigger opportunity. Yet, there are risks associated with a fragmented and nascent industry that is growing so fast.”
The report also found that consumers purchased $370 million worth of marijuana products in 2014 in Colorado and Washington, and that Arizona was the fastest developing major marijuana market last year, enlarging from $35 million in sales in 2013 to $155 million in 2014.
“With Oregon and Alaska coming online soon and with the potential of six states including California going legal in 2016, legalization will be the largest driver of market growth going forward,” stated an ArcView insider.
Overall, the U.S. legal marijuana industry grew 74% to $2.7 billion, and about $30 million per year goes to educational and political work for nonprofits working on marijuana issues.