FAIRWAY, KS (KCTV) - Legalized marijuana is the fastest-growing industry in the United States, according to a new report.
California-based cannabis research and investment firm ArcView Group reports that the legal cannabis industry expanded 74 percent in 2014.
The data, recently published in company's third edition of the State of Legal Marijuana Markets, shows the market grew from $1.5 billion in 2013 to $2.7 billion in 2014 in combined retail and wholesale sales. Click here to see the executive summary of the report.
Additionally, five states - California, Colorado, Washington, Arizona and Michigan - now boast markets greater than $100 million, the report states.
"In the last year, the rise of the cannabis industry went from an interesting cocktail conversation to being taken seriously as the fastest growing industry in America," said Troy Dayton, ArcView Group CEO, in a letter to readers. "At this point, it's hard to imagine that any serious businessperson who is paying attention hasn't spent some time thinking about the possibilities in this market."
Colorado's "unofficial state flower" brings in millions for the state.
According to ArcView Group, Colorado became the "new epicenter of the industry" as the first active adult use market and recorded $805 million total combined retail and wholesale sales.
Toni Savage, owner and founder of 3D Cannabis Center in Denver, sold Colorado's first legal recreational marijuana.
"I knew it was a historic day. I knew we were making history. I knew the world was watching," Savage said.
Before Colorado's first day of legal recreational marijuana on Jan. 1 of last year, Savage was in the medicinal pot business, and things weren't what she expected.
"As of Jan.1, 2014, I had almost a million dollars of personal loan debt at the time," she said.
She went from selling her wedding rings and jewelry into something operating out of the red the day Colorado legalized marijuana.
In 365 days, Savage and the cannabis industry turned her company into a profitable venture.
"I started with one of the small rooms in the basement with lights. Whenever I made more money or was able to get a loan, I would add more lights," she said.
Now, Savage's 3D Cannabis Center is worth an estimated $4 million.
So, can marijuana solve a financial problem in Kansas and Missouri?