Legal sales in the U.S. cannabis industry are expected to reach $75 billion by 2030, nearly matching the total sales in the North American carbonated soft drink market in 2017.
According to the research firm Cowen & Co., anticipated growth in the cannabis industry has cannabis poised to outpace the soft drink industry and become the larger of the two. Growth of the cannabis industry is attributable to more state legalizing the consumption of the plant.
The Cannifornian reported: Nine states and Washington, D.C., now allow for recreational pot use. That means more than one in five American adults can smoke, vape, eat or drink it however they please. Cowen previously predicted that the market, assuming federal legalization, would reach $50 billion by 2026. That seems small now, according to analyst Vivien Azer.
“New forecasts suggest that the market is already that size,” she said in a note Wednesday.
Meanwhile, soda sales are on the decline as increasingly health-conscious consumers eschew sugary drinks. Per capita carbonated soft drink consumption declined to a 31-year low in the U.S. in 2016, according to Beverage-Digest, a trade publication. The market in North America fell to $76.4 billion last year from $78.3 billion in 2016, data from Euromontior International shows.
While soda may be eclipsed, the industry that’s hearing alarm bells is alcohol. Binge drinking rates declined in states with legal weed compared with states that allow only medical marijuana and those prohibiting any kind of pot, according to the note.
“We have consistently argued that cannabis and alcohol are substitute social lubricants,” Azer said.