Annual survey confirms that U.S. cannabis consumption is on the rise

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Amid the rise of cannabis legalization across the United States, more Americans are consuming the plant. This is according to the 2019 Annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which was recently published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). 

Based on the data, 46.2 percent of people aged 12 and above claimed that they had tried weed in 2019. During the previous year, 45.3 percent of people said that they had tried weed. 

Furthermore, the number of people who reportedly consumed cannabis within the past year rose from 15.9 percent in 2018 to 17.5 percent in 2019. 

There was also a noticeable rise in the number of consumers who enjoyed the green stuff within the past month; climbing from 10.1 percent to 11.5 percent.

Market growth is contributing to increased rates of U.S. cannabis consumption 

By the end of 2020, medical and recreational retail sales of cannabis in the U.S. are on-track to surpass $15 billion. Fast forward to the year 2024 and combined sales of legal weed in the U.S. could soar to $37 billion.

These predictions were outlined in the 2020 edition of the Marijuana Business Factbook, which suggests that this year’s sales figures will be 40 percent higher than they were in 2019.

Considering the fact that 33 U.S. states have legalized cannabis for medical purposes, 11 states have legalized the plant for recreational purposes and a handful of states are expected to vote on legalization measures at the November elections, analysts may see their projections transpire on a grander scale once the market swells. 

Coronavirus not denting cannabis sales in the U.S. 

Short-term uncertainty has rattled the cannabis industry in recent times, what with the COVID-19 pandemic shaking up global economies and putting the brakes on typical business routines. Nonetheless, thanks to ongoing gains in the recreational cannabis sector and sales spikes in medical markets, the long-term prospects remain overly positive. 

Some of the most lucrative medical cannabis markets amid the pandemic include new programs in Florida, Maryland, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania. Furthermore, adult-use sales in fresh markets like Illinois, Massachusetts and Michigan are continuing to flourish.

Since consumers are putting their trust in the cannabis plant during a virus outbreak, it’s clear that the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t caused any lasting damage to the legal market. In fact, many states like New Mexico and Pennsylvania are considering legalization as a means of reversing coronavirus-related economic damage. 

Plus, with data showing that consumers born in the year 1997 and onwards – Generation Z – are among the largest group of consumers transitioning away from the black market to licensed and state-regulated markets, the legal U.S. cannabis market has plenty of potential for continuous maturance.