BOSTON — The Bay State cannabis market will likely reach around $1.8 billion and it will take years to develop the cultivation infrastructure necessary to meet the demand, according to a business executive in the emerging field.

“It’s going to take time,” Tim Keogh, CEO of AmeriCann, said at a State House News Forum hosted with the Massachusetts Cannabis Business Association.

Extrapolating figures from Colorado’s robust legal marijuana market, Keogh projected that the cannabis market in Massachusetts could be around $1.8 billion.

“It’s going to take millions of square feet to meet the demand for cannabis in Massachusetts, and I think it’s going to take years to get that built out,” Keogh estimated.

The Cannabis Control Commission on Thursday could grant its first marijuana business license to Sira Naturals to grow 10,000 to 20,000 square feet worth of marijuana in Milford. Sira Naturals already produces marijuana for the medical market. The first medical dispensary opened in 2015, after voters legalized the intoxicant for doctor-approved therapeutic applications in 2012.

While the product remains illegal under federal law, Massachusetts voters in 2016 followed in the footsteps of Colorado and other states, legalizing a retail marijuana market for all adults over the age of 21. Whether the commission meets the July 1 target for marijuana shop openings is an open question.

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Keith Cooper, an entrepreneur who leads Revolutionary Clinics, which has a medical marijuana dispensary in Somerville, noted that marijuana already has a customer base – those who purchase the dried flowers and other pot products on the illicit market.

If the state’s marijuana cultivation was 1 million square feet – which is about one third of a square mile – only about half of that would actually be devoted to “canopy” where the plants grow, according

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