North America’s legal cannabis market to inflate to $37.9 billion by 2024

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Cannabis-focused strategy and research consultancy firm Prohibition Partners has published its eagerly awaited Global Cannabis Report. The findings of this report indicate that legal cannabis in North America is on its way to becoming a $37.9 billion market by 2024.

On a global scale, analysts from Prohibition Partners foresee the legal cannabis market being valued at $103.9 billion by 2024. Of this amount, $62.6 billion is expected to be earned from medical cannabis and $41.3 billion from recreational cannabis sales. 

According to the report, all 50 U.S. states are predicted to fully legalize weed by 2024. Currently, 33 U.S. states have legalized cannabis for medical purposes and 11 for recreational purposes.

North America’s legal cannabis market lags slightly behind Europe’s budding market

Recreational cannabis will be a bigger industry across North America than in Europe, say Prohibition’s team of analysts. By 2024, the adult-use cannabis market in North America is projected to reach $17.7 billion, whereas in Europe it is anticipated to reach $16.8 billion. Medical cannabis, on the other hand, will be led by Europe. The report claims that the European medical cannabis market could blossom into a $22.3 billion market. North America’s predicted value falls slightly behind at $20.2 billion. 

In terms of which market is more mature, North America regains the lead. Higher patient numbers and broader access to medical cannabis programs could give the continent a competitive edge for expansion. Plus, with Canada and the U.S. boasting nine of the top 10 leading firms on the planet by market capitalization – including Curaleaf Holdings ($2.7B), Green Thumb Industries ($2.3B) and Innovative Industrial Properties ($815.3M).– the quality is to be rivaled.

North America’s dominance in the cannabis industry expected to change

Currently, Canadian cannabis producers take the lead in cultivation, production and manufacturing than any other place on the world map. This could soon change, what with cannabis legislation being amended around the globe. What’s more, major financial institution Bank of New York Mellon Corp. announced in November that it would no longer be accepting trading or custody in association with cannabis businesses in the U.S.

Progress is being made, however. President Donald Trump’s signing of the 2018 Farm Bill legalized the sale and cultivation of hemp and hemp-derived CBD products, which intensely fueled market growth. Furthermore, an Act was recently passed by the House permitting cannabis companies across the U.S. access to banking services, such as credit card processing and retail banking.

As a direct effect of restrictions on cannabis banking in the U.S., various American-registered companies have been forced to list their pot stocks on the Canadian Securities Exchange; putting U.S. retail investors in a position whereby they must conduct cross-border trades in order to invest in the U.S. cannabis market. 

“The inconsistent legality of cannabis and hemp-based CBD within food and drinks products means we have seen the mainstream brands err on the side of caution before committing,” the report explained, touching upon the fact that cannabis’ legal status in the U.S. has deterred larger firms from dabbling in the nascent industry.

The U.S. is a leader in clinical trials on medical cannabis

Cannabis may still be an illicit substance at the federal level in the U.S., but it hasn’t stopped the States from becoming the world’s largest hub for clinical trials. Last year, 343 clinical trials took place across the U.S., compared with 49 in Canada and 106 in Europe.

The report spotlighted how the FDA-approval of GW Pharmaceuticals’ cannabis-based epilepsy treatment Epidiolex was a turning point for cannabis pharmaceuticals in the U.S. In spite of the fact that North America’s population is smaller than Europe’s, the market is still on-track to top $37.9 billion by the year 2024; thanks to market maturity. 

A CBD trend might have already ignited across much of Europe, but the cannabis plant has not been fully legalized on a recreational scale in any European country to-date. Over in North America, it’s a very different story; Canada has completely legalized cannabis and America’s map is gradually turning greener.