Medical marijuana is becoming big business — racking up sales totals that rival those for Viagra, according to a new report.
The report, released by See Change LLC, a Colorado company that provides investment advice to businesses (See Change is selling an in-depth version of the report for $1,150), shows that medical marijuana sales have already reached $1.7 billion in states where it is legal — compared with annual Viagra sales of $1.9 billion. (More on Time.com: The ‘Gateway’ Myth that Will Not Die)
In a conference call with reporters this week, report editor Ted Rose noted that 1 in 4 Americans lives in a state in which medical marijuana is legal, and that nearly 25 million people in those states have medical problems for which the drug can be prescribed. Rose projects that medical marijuana sales will reach $8.9 billion in five years.
Of course, all of this depends on the federal government’s continued commitment to looking the other way (despite states’ laws allowing medical marijuana, the drug is still prohibited under federal law), or on action to legalize the medical or even recreational use of marijuana nationally. (More on Time.com: 7 Ways to Make Marijuana Legalization Smart)
It’s interesting to note that medical alcohol was one of the few exceptions to national Prohibition of that drug — and that Prohibition ended during the Great Depression.