Americans are buying more legal pot than Oreos, Girl Scout cookies, and Pringles combined

German Lopez | VOX

One of the benefits of marijuana legalization is the rise of a new, multibillion-dollar industry that provides legal jobs to thousands of taxpaying workers. This is one of the main reasons advocates have used to get legalization enacted in Colorado, Washington state, Oregon, and Alaska.

But how big is that industry, really? A new chart from Statista puts it in context: US purchases of legal marijuana in 2015, counting retail sales in states where marijuana is legal for medical or recreational purposes, were bigger than Dasani, Girl Scout cookies, Oreos, and Pringles sales combined in 2014.

The benefits to this are obvious: more jobs and more tax revenue. Colorado, for one, found in 2015 that nearly half of potential summertime visitors cited legal marijuana as an influence for their vacation decisions (although only 8 percent of actual tourists said they visited a marijuana dispensary).

The estimate from Statista, taken from a Marijuana Business Daily report, is likely only the beginning, too. The industry expects to grow dramatically over the next few years, especially as more and bigger states — perhaps California — fully legalize pot.

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