Americans Spend More Money on Cannabis Than Chocolate, Study Finds

We now live in a time when people spend more on legal cannabis than chocolate, something that seemed unthinkable just a few years ago, much less during the lifetime of most Americans. But few things offer such a quick way to see how things have changed in the past decade.

A new survey released by Marijuana Business Daily reported that people spent an estimated $30 billion on legal marijuana in 2022 and about $18 billion on chocolate. So, it’s not even close. People also spent more on cannabis than on craft beer, opioid medication and topical pain relief.

Those last two seem to fit with studies that have found that the more people have access to legal cannabis, the less they spend on opioids and other painkillers. More people than ever look to cannabis to better manage pain.

Sales Expected to Grow Over Next Few Years

The report not only found that more people than ever buying cannabis, but also predicted a steep increase in sales over the next few years. The publication predicts that cannabis sales will reach $57 billion a year by 2028.

That would place cannabis sales higher than tobacco sales. Currently, according to the report, Americans spent these estimated amounts on a selection of products in 2022.

  • Tobacco ($52.7 billion)
  • Cannabis ($30 billion)
  • Opioid medication ($22.8 billion)
  • Chocolate ($18.2 billion)
  • Craft beer ($7.9 billion)
  • Pain relief ($2.8 billion)

The publication, which focuses on the cannabis industry, reached these estimates by consulting with economics and analyzing multiple consumer spending databases. Based on the current trajectory, the report estimates sales will increase by $3.6 billion in 2024.

It’s important to note cannabis sales are reaching these milestones even though, unlike all the other products on the above list, cannabis is legal only in certain states.

The Widespread Impact of Legal Cannabis

The report also noted the widespread, positive impact legal cannabis is having on job creation and creating a new revenue stream for governments at all levels through taxes and fees, which in turn fund programs that benefit the public. The cannabis industry not only creates new businesses and jobs in agricultural, manufacturing and retail operations, but also in ancillary businesses such as lighting suppliers, accountant agencies and law firms.

They also note that some cities and states are home to the cannabis events and hospitality industry, contributing to the economic impact. “The marijuana industry has a large impact on the broader economy, both locally and across the nation,” the report stated, according to the Daily Mail. “’That impact comes directly from the day-to-day needs of workers in the cannabis industry, including spending on life’s necessities such as housing, transportation, entertainment and more.”

There’s another oddity about the rise of marijuana’s popularity. Cannabis remains illegal at the federal level, meaning it is the highest selling illegal drug in the nation, at least in the eyes of the federal government.

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