COVID-19 disrupted the growth of certain industries in the United States of America, however, the cannabis industry in the country owes all its recent growth to the pandemic.
It was reported recently that the total sales of cannabis in the country have reached a total of 17.5 billion dollars.
This is an unprecedented record in the global sales of marijuana legally.
What's more surprising is that the industry was able to make this amount of sales while the main ingredient; cannabis, is still considered illegal by the federal government of the country.
Marijuana is the most trafficked and used drug in the world. It is commonly cultivated in several regions of the world on small, medium, and large scales. The US is one of these regions.
For more than 2 decades, there has been an active push for the legalization of cannabis in the country. This is for so many reasons.
Some of which include;
Medical research reasons
Everyone has their reason for wanting this drug legalized.
On a federal level, there has been no progress so far. The federal government actively classifies Cannabis as a schedule 1 drug.
On state levels, a lot of progress has been recorded in the majority of the states. Some have legalized the use of cannabis for only medical-related reasons, while a few have legalized the drugs for recreational and medical-related reasons. Out of the fifty states, 35 states have legally endorsed the sales of cannabis in one way or another.
These States are responsible for the 17.5 billion dollars total sales made. Without them, there would not be a legal industry for the cannabis market.
With the recent feats being reached by the cannabis industry, we can state categorically that the legalization of cannabis on a federal scale is no longer a matter of "if" but "when".
It has to be sooner rather than later because the black market is making at least $100 billion annually from the cannabis industry.
The first legal sale of cannabis in the US was launched in 2018 in California. Total sales in 2018 amounted to $1.4 billion, in 2019, $2.8 billion. This figure increased to $4.4 billion in 2020. Making the state the largest cannabis economy in the US.
Other states joined in and now, we're able to report a 46% increase in the sales of cannabis from 2019 till date.
The sales growth can be associated with the increased rate in the recreational use of the drug.
The state of Illinois had the highest dollar gain last year. This is because it finally legalized the adult use of marijuana in 2020. Its sales grew by $784 million, making it surpass the $1 billion mark in total sales.
Colorado is another large cannabis market that has surpassed $2 billion in total sales from its medical and recreational cannabis industry.
Oregon hit the $1 billion mark in 2020. The state recorded at least $100 million in sales for four months in a row at the peak of the pandemic from May. Its recreational and medical cannabis markets both had stunning sales in 2020.
Washington also made a total sales of $1.4 billion in 2020. This is not surprising seeing that it has the second oldest recreational market in the country.
Massachusetts went up 56% from 2019 by making almost $700 million in sales in 2020. It will no doubt surpass the $1 billion mark this year.
Nevada is well on its way to recording $1 billion in total sales from recreational and medicinal cannabis this year.
Most of these data were obtained from a cannabis sales data platform, BDSA.
Experts all over the world also agreed that the sales boost can be accounted for by the most obvious factor that made 2020 unique; the coronavirus pandemic and the state-wide lockdowns in different parts of the country.
Kelly Nielsen, who is in charge of the analytics department at BDSA explained that from the massive sales gotten in 2020, the cannabis industry can be termed recession-proof. The industry remained unfazed despite the economic downturn.
Mr. Nielsen also pointed out that in addition to the pandemic, it was observed that more states legalized the adult use of cannabis. While more customers delved into the mature cannabis market in Colorado, California, and Oregon. Existing customers also upped the amount of cannabis they consumed. The demand increased on all sides.
BDSA discovered that the total number of cannabis consumers in the recreational market alone was six times more than the number obtained in late 2019.
In Colorado, about 48% of the total number of the Coloradan population imbibe in the adult use of cannabis. The number increases each year.
A director of economics at VS strategies, Andrew Livingston concurred to the above and further added that most consumers had to increase their normal order due to the absence of other conventional ways to relax. Recall, cinemas, restaurants, and concerts were prohibited due to the pandemic.
A niche of the cannabis industry that also gained the most is the delivery service niche. They made record profit during the pandemic. Their customer base increased by about 25%.( as stated by BDSA)
Andrea Brooks, founder, and CEO of the Sava cannabis delivery platform said that at the start of the pandemic the high-end company enjoyed a surge of 60% sales growth. The surge never waned till the end of the year. She also mentioned it seemed more consumers were finally leaving the black market and entering the legal cannabis industry.
The Sava is now on a client-retention spree while putting more effort into expanding the range of the company's services.
With time, concrete measures will be taken to delist marijuana from the schedule 1 list of drugs. This will dissipate the bulk of the black market cannabis industry in the country.
The U.S marijuana market could only go-ahead from this point. This growth has been predicted to remain throughout 2021. At this rate, the legal cannabis market will surpass a total sales of $41 billion before 2026.