Report: If humanity makes it to 2030, legal weed will outsell soda

Illustration for article titled Report: If humanity makes it to 2030, legal weed will outsell soda
Photo: Theo Stroomer (Getty Images)

The growth of the legal cannabis industry is so explosive that even noted tastemaker John Boehner is getting in on the action. Given that, perhaps this piece of news from Comstock’s should come as no surprise: 12 years from now, the legal pot business will surpass the legal sugar-water business. That is, assuming we’re all still alive to smoke things.


Comstock’s reports that researchers at Cowen & Co. project that the legal cannabis industry will reach $75 billion in sales by 2030. That’s a figure almost as large as that of the North American soft drink industry in 2017—and the market for pop, unlike the market for pot, is on the decline. According to Comstock’s, 2016 marked the lowest per-capita numbers in 31 years for soft drinks, and that number fell even lower in 2017.

Recreational weed, on the other hand, is now legal in nine states and in Washington, D.C. As a result, one in five American adults can now legally pass the dutch and/or the edibles, baby—a statistic that made The Takeout staffers let out a very on-the-nose “whoa.” Cowen’s projection assumes federal legalization, which seems both impossible and inevitable at the moment; they previously projected that the market would top $50 billion by 2026, but as Comstock’s reports, an analyst noted that “forecasts suggest that the market is already that size.”


Granddaddy Purple 1, Twisted Mango Diet Coke 0.

Contributor, The A.V. Club and The Takeout. Allison loves TV, bourbon, and overanalyzing social interactions. Please buy her book, How TV Can Make You Smarter (Chronicle, 2020). It’s short!


Dr Emilio Lizardo

Dollar volume is maybe not the best way of measuring these things. A day’s supply of weed is going to cost more than a day’s supply of soda unless you intend to spend all day pissing. These kind of comparisons are where you get misleading press releases like “Salsa is more popular than ketchup.”