Estimates vary greatly, but the total size of legal, cannabis-centric industries is somewhere between the $2 billion that could be reported in 2014 - and much, much higher. The black market in the U.S. alone is estimated to be in excess of $50 billion, and if broad legalization trends continue, we expect to see a continued swing from illicit to legitimate sales, both in how they are generated and how efficiently they are reported through financial and regulatory channels.
Market size estimates are about much more than just selling product; dozens of ancillary businesses are seeing benefits—new sales segments emerge for existing products, and new research opportunities crop up in the medical and consumer space.
Just like we are confident that the people on our 2014 MJINews Power Politicians list are at the forefront of legislative efforts and political tide-turning, we see the companies on our 2014 MJINews Power Companies list standing at the forefront of cannabis production, technology solutions, information aggregation, intellectual property, social media, pharmaceutical-grade medicines and consumer products.
These are 11 companies that will be playing a major role in the size and scope of marijuana-based industries in the coming years.
Some are distinctly pure plays into the production and distribution of cannabis. Others have a broader focus that spans multiple industries, but could see huge new sources of revenue as legal marijuana markets grow and continue to build on a steady wave of mainstream acceptance by investors, physicians and consumers.
These companies have the distinct advantage of being first movers in the village of industries that could see explosive growth in the next decade if the march towards broad-scale legalization continues.
We cannot predict whether any of these companies will have the biggest market share five years from now in their areas of expertise—or if they will even exist at all in their present form.
If (or as we at MJINews believe, when) legalization occurs on the national level, there will be a wave of competition the likes of which we can scarcely imagine. Leadership will then depend on visionary management, intellectual property, tight product focus and services execution.
It is going to be a wild ride, for sure. And these companies wield a lot of power and opportunity. But the industries involved are barely in their toddler stages, so while these firms may be in control, it is only the control of a sandbox.
To whom much is given, much is expected.