Two new reports highlight cannabis-fueled economic growth in the U.S.

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

While much of the world is undergoing economic hardship as a result of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, the United States is showing that weed could be the savior. This is according to two separate industry reports highlighting the impact that legal cannabis is having on the U.S. economy. 

One of the reports, titled “Legalizing of Cannabis for the Treatment of Various Diseases Expected to Fuel the Growth of the Global Medical Marijuana Market in Post Pandemic Period” hones in on the economic effects of the virus outbreak. It was published by Research Drive.

Despite impressive cannabis sales figures amid COVID-19, analysts say that the pandemic has undoubtedly hindered the legal weed industry’s growth rate. Nonetheless, news coverage highlighting this research has surfaced at a time when more patients are turning to medical cannabis as a treatment.

Global medical [cannabis] market has experienced a massive downfall in the post pandemic period,” reads an excerpt from a press release on the report. “Nationwide shutdowns and supply chain disruption have hampered the growth of the market. The key players of the market are working on development strategies to sustain the market growth in the post-pandemic period.”

Report shows pre-pandemic cannabis sales fell below estimates 

Research Drive’s cannabis report exposed an amalgamation of figures that represent the state of the U.S. market. Included in the data was 2018 medical cannabis sales figures, which topped $4,810 million a figure that is anticipated to inflate to $33,211.7 million by the time 2026 is over.

Analysts from the research company used these numbers to figure out what potential roadblocks may hinder the industry’s growth, in addition to likely obstacles such as COVID-19 that could make it difficult for the U.S. cannabis industry to fully mature.

Even with COVID-19 in mind, analysts noted how the growth of U.S. cannabis will undoubtedly deliver investors and industry players a wallop of motivation. After all, a 27.4 percent post-pandemic growth rate slightly less than the 28.7 percent growth initially pinned on the marketillustrates colossal progress for the industry during a difficult time; supply woes haven’t seriously impacted the industry’s ability to scale, say analysts. 

Growth figures aside, the report also touched upon the previously estimated valuation of a pre-pandemic cannabis market in the U.S., which was initially expected to top $7,751.9 million. However, the real amount was confirmed as $5,813.9 million.  

“The global medical [cannabis] market is anticipated to witness noteworthy growth post-coronavirus pandemic,” the press release reads. “The government initiatives to legalize [cannabis] and rising adoption of cannabis in treatment of various diseases are significant factors expected to fuel the growth of the global market post the pandemic situation. For instance, the legal [cannabis] business in the U.S. is creating jobs & opportunities with about 9,397 licenses that includes cultivators’ and manufacturers’ deliverers and labs. In addition, the increase in numbers of clinical trials with cannabis to treat chronic and neuropathic pain is a major indicator likely to create investment opportunities for the market players in the forecast period.”

Also covered in the Research Drive cannabis report were some of the market’s most prominent players. They included Aurora Cannabis, ABcann Medicinals, Aphria, Cannabis Sativa, Canopy Growth,  Emerald Health Therapeutics, GW Pharmaceuticals and Green Relief. Evolutions in cannabis market strategies, collaborations and research were highlighted in the report, too.

Leafly report: 67 percent growth in combined U.S. cannabis sales since last year 

A separate report on the state of the U.S. cannabis market amid COVID-19 has indicated a 67 percent increase in sales between 2019 and 2020. Leafly researchers gathered medical and recreational cannabis sales through the analysis of state tax and revenue data.

According to the team at Leafly, total cannabis sales in the U.S. topped $17.9 billion in 2019. This figure represents $7.2 billion growth in comparison with sales accumulated throughout the duration of 2019. Surging sales were stimulated by increased purchase sizes, with established buyers stocking up on 25 to 40 percent more; on average.

Cannabis sales doubled in nine states between 2019 and 2020. They were Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maine, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. 

A more conclusive account of 2020 U.S. cannabis sales figures will be published by Leafly in the annual Cannabis Jobs Report, which is expected to be released in February.