Marijuana experts question how industry will mature as rapid growth continues

Regulated marijuana sales are growing rapidly in participating states, but with federal legalization still a slow-turning wheel, it could take decades for the industry to fully mature on a national level.

On the back of 11 states passing marijuana-related measures last year, sales of recreational marijuana are expected to increase by roughly 30% this year — reaching $5.1 billion to $6.1 billion — and increase up to 45% in 2018, according to industry data provided by Chris Walsh, analyst and editorial director of Marijuana Business Daily. Walsh said he expects another spike in 2019, pushing sales past $11 billion.

But uncertainties still face the fast-growing market. During the Marijuana Business Conference & Expo in Washington D.C. on Wednesday, Walsh said he asked Rep. Earl Blumenauer, a Democrat of Oregon, when he thought marijuana would be federally legalized.

“He said he expects legalization within the next four years. He’s very optimistic...

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