The amount of cop-free doobies people bought could have also funded NASA's entire space program for a year.
The revenue from legal marijuana sales already does so much for schools and local economies. What if we could use that money for space exploration too?
… And more importantly, how much more do people love weed than spicy cheese dust?
Well, according to a recent estimate by ArcView Market Research and New Frontier Data, the amount of money Americans spent on legal weed in 2015 could certainly foot the space bill. And to answer that second question … a shit ton.
In the past year alone, Americans spent a staggering $5.4 billion on legal medical and recreational pot. Sorry Chris Christie, your policies are out of favor and you’re ugly.
To put that number into perspective, that would have been enough to send the Curiosity rover to Mars, the New Horizons probe to Pluto and build five brand new, state-of-the-art space shuttles. You could fund the International Space Station for a year and a half, build two more Hubble telescopes, and probably finance an effort finally elucidate which solar system David Bowie came from.
On a more earth-bound, you-related level, $5.4 billion could buy you the entire output of the Cheesecake Factory for a year. It's also more money than Americans spent on Doritos, Cheetos and Funyons combined. By comparison, that glutinous love only cost Uncle Sam's children a paltry $4.9 billion. Clearly, people's munchies aren't keeping up with their vibes.
A huge portion of legal weed sales came from California's medical marijuana, accounting for over $1 billion of the total revenue. However, Colorado's recreational sales alone matched that amount … pretty impressive considering Colorado's population is about seven times smaller than California's.
We feel obligated to tell you that Washington state spent another half-billion but … no one cares about them.
The remaining amount came from the state's myriad medical marijuana markets. Currently, 23 states allow medicinal weed.
ArcView projects that legal weed sales will continue to grow by approximately 30 percent every year, meaning that by 2020, the marijuana industry could be bringing in $22 billion in annual revenue. That's about 3 times more profit than the NFL brings in per year, proving once and for all that in the battle between stoners and jocks, stoners win. Every time!
Of course, this was legal marijuana, not illegal marijuana, which some experts postulate will add another $10 to $25 billion to the total national sales. With higher quality, internationally recognized marijuana coming out of legalized states, especially Colorado, law enforcement has witnessed a rise in drug cartels setting up operations in these states, yet have no way of tracking their output and sales.
Whether you use marijuana or not, you can’t deny that there is a economical benefit that’s occurring as well as a shift in the social stigma of the Class 1 controlled substance. So Oklahoma and Kansas, get off your high horse and realize that marijuana isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, it's going straight to 7-Eleven to buy up all the Cooler Ranch Doritos, so suck it.