It’s no secret that the cannabis industry is doing wonderfully and hitting its stride now that more and more states are legalizing and decriminalizing, so it should come as no surprise that the industry is projected to hit a whopping $8 billion by the year 2018, according to some economists. While these predictions were made almost a year ago, it now certainly seems that they are coming true, based on the growth of the industry so far and the numbers from last year’s sales.

This is all according to data released by the Marijuana Business Factbook. Sales for this past fiscal year already reached around $2 billion, so as long as states continue to legalize and this progression keeps moving, it makes sense that they will be growing at such a steady rate, although this is a big and substantial jump for any one industry to make. Still, due to the way that things are currently changing and this fast-paced fiscal environment, it looks like these predictions might even outstripe the earlier guesses.

This also makes sense in light of recently lifted restrictions by the Federal government. While at first it looked like things might be difficult on a federal level because of raids and other forms of government bullying, Washington has already backed down from raids and agreed to back cannabis banking, and there is a bill on the books to reschedule cannabis, meaning it will no longer be mainly viewed as such a dangerous drug.

“You could call it the $2 billion memo,” stated editor Chris Walsh, of CannaBusiness Media in an interview for one of his publications, Marijuana Business Daily. “This total is conservative – the reality of retail sales could be larger,” Walsh continued. “Nor does it include wholesale cannabis sales, or the billions of dollars in ancillary cannabusiness revenues such as growing equipment, real estate, legal fees, testing labs, paraphernalia, etc.”

These numbers are based on both recreational and medical sales, and predict that 4-5 more states will become fully legal and 2-3 will become medical by the year 2018. Based on the kind of activism and progress we have seen so far this year, these numbers really might be a modest guess of what is really in store, to say nothing of the possibility that the the U.S. could federally legalize by then. While this estimate of course does not take the black market into account, it is a true fact that the current black market cannabis industry is estimated to be worth around $40 billion, and the more states legalize, the more that the legitimate industry will poach from the customers who are buying illegally, thus growing business and putting an end to crime at the same time.

This survey was compiled using a mixture of market research, surveying, and looking at the current fiscal numbers. It also relied on predictions of which states would become legal in the future, as stated earlier in the article. The current numbers are a 33% increase from predictions made at the onset of legalization.

As this growth continues, so do the publications that support it. In addition to Marijuana Business Daily, who undertook the initial study, Weed Depot offers, which is a great place to go to read about upcoming business endeavors and the financial side of the marijuana industry. This kind of coverage is necessary, as the world of legal cannabis continues to outstripe fiscal predictions at every turn.

In order for these numbers to come true, the cannabis industry must continue to grow and change, and always operate as a positive driving force for the economy. However, if the numbers we have seen for last year, as well as the overall forward mobility of the industry, are any indication, than these predictions are not far off at all.