LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The pot industry has seen tremendous growth in Nevada and across the country, and it could become a more than $15 billion a year industry as early as 2020 according to some industry projections.
To see an example of the rapid growth of the marijuana industry you need look no further than Planet 13 in Las Vegas.
Billing itself as the largest dispensary in the world, it opened in November of 2018 -- a little more than a year after recreational marijuana sales became legal.
"To see where it was only about 5 years ago,” said Brandon Zimmer. “To see where it is today. It's truly mind-blowing!"
Already massive, Planet 13 is expanding its current space an extra 112,000 square feet to accommodate the growing demand.
And new numbers published in the 2019 edition of the Marijuana Business Factbook and in the Marijuana Business Daily show that as attitudes toward pot have relaxed money spent on cannabis is beginning to rival other businesses where people spend a lot of cash.
One place the munchies might send you to is Taco Bell, which earns about $10.8 billion a year in sales. By contrast, in 2018 revenue from the cannabis industry, both legal recreational and medical, was estimated between $8.6 and $10 billion.
The report estimates people spent more on pot than e-cigarettes or the video game "Fortnite," which took in $3.6 billion and $2.4 billion respectively.
But the real buzz is projections have sales of legal cannabis topping the NFL’s $15 billion in revenue by 2020.
Rianna Durrett is the executive director of the Nevada Dispensary Association.
"That is very surprising. I know in Nevada it’s been quite a big impact," said Durrett.
"Sales have quickly jumped up from $529 million in taxable sales in 2018 to $630 million or so in fiscal year 2019," she said. "So that's quite a significant increase.”
And it is not just about money, it's jobs too.
“Now to be able to do this as a career as a real profession is just incredible,” said Zimmer.
The number of full-time cannabis workers is expected increase 34% this year.