Cannabis Industry Statistics 2019

From Market Growth to Regulation

Some cannabis industry statistics can be hard to measure. How much the industry spends on marketing is notoriously hard to track down. But as the industry grows in size and regulation, ever more insightful (and big) dispensary statistics are published by leading analysts and agencies.

The cannabis industry is booming around the world, undoubtedly. The question is: by how much? If you’re an existing or potential cannabis investor, dispensary owner, or simply cannabis curious, here’s a roundup of recent marijuana statistics to show you where the cannabis industry is currently, where it’s headed, and where we’re still playing catch-up.

Jump to a section:

1. Marijuana usage statistics

2. Acceptance of recreational marijuana

3. The growth of the medical market

4. Market opportunity in the US and Canada

5. Employment demand

6. Legal and compliance issues

1. Marijuana usage statistics 2019

13% of Americans identify as “current users”

The most recent Gallup poll (from 2016), shows that 13% of Americans are active users, which is nearly twice as many since the last time the poll was taken in 2013. The poll on recreational cannabis is expected to be taken again sometime this year.

22.1% of Americans aged 18 - 25 (and 7.9% over age 26) have used marijuana in the past month

The National Institute of Drug Abuse shows lower numbers compared to Gallup for their 2017 survey. 7.9% of individuals over 26 years of age identify as having used marijuana in the past month (which correlates to the Gallup criteria for being a current user). Meanwhile, within ages 18 - 25, 22.1% say they have used marijuana in the past month.

marijuana usage statistics
Image Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse

The cannabis consumer is diversifying across age and gender

The latest report from Eaze, a cannabis delivery service in the San Francisco Bay Area, reveals the cannabis consumer is diversifying. According to data from their 450,000-person user base and from 4,000 survey respondents, first-time cannabis consumers increased by 140% with Baby Boomers and women as the fastest growing segments.

In 2018, Baby Boomer customers were up 25% over 2017. Meanwhile the number of female consumers nearly doubled to 38% at the end of 2018. Some of the changes in the consumer base is attributed to the growth of CBD products and the more diverse CBD market, which is looking for different benefits from cannabis products than THC users.

2. Acceptance of recreational marijuana

Recreational marijuana is legal in 10 US states

As of February 2019, 10 states have legalized the use of recreational marijuana (in addition to medical marijuana) for individuals over age 21: California, Alaska, Oregon, Washington, Maine, Colorado, Nevada, Vermont, Michigan, Massachusetts, District of Columbia.

states where marijuana is legal
Image Source: Business Insider

Two in three Americans support the legalization of recreational marijuana

According to a Gallup poll, 66% of Americans support the federal legalization of recreational marijuana. The first time Gallup took the same poll in 1969, just 12% of American held the same view. Currently 53% of Republicans and 71% of Democrats are in favor, showing that recreational legalization at the state level in Republican-dominated states still has a way to go. That said, 2018 marks the first year that Republicans reached majority support for legalization in the cannabis poll. Democrats reached majority support in 2009.

support for legalizing marijuana
Image Source: Gallup

3. The growth of the medical market

Medical marijuana is now legal in 33 US states

The total number of states with legal medical cannabis is now 33: Hawaii, Montana, Rhode Island, New Mexico, Arizona, New Jersey, Delaware, Connecticut, Illinois, New Hampshire, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, North Dakota, Arkansas, Louisiana, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Utah, Missouri. And the 10 states with recreational marijuana: California, Alaska, Oregon, Washington, Maine, Colorado, Nevada, Vermont, Michigan, Massachusetts, District of Columbia.

Maryland: the first year of MMJ sales approaches $100 million

The marijuana industry saw the emergence of a new large market. Medical marijuana sales in Maryland (say that 5 times fast) had a slow start in its first year of 2018 and then zoomed past first-year sales from other states. While Maryland’s first year of medical marijuana sales netted $95.4 million, first-year sales in New York were estimated at a maximum of $15 million.

Marijuana Business Daily
Image Source: Marijuana Business Daily

4. Market opportunity in the US and Canada

The North American cannabis industry is growing to the multiple billions

In 2018, investors put $10 billion into the North American marijuana market, which is expected to be worth $16 billion by the end of 2019. Legal marijuana in this continent was a $10.4 billion dollar industry in 2018, meaning it’s expected to grow more than 50% in just one year. California is still the state with the largest market.

Capital raising from North American public cannabis companies totaled $394.1 million in January of 2019 alone

The average funding round from public companies in NA was $24.6 million in January of 2019. Contrast that figure with January of 2018, when the average funding round was a little over half that, at $13.7 million.

The ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF is managing $1 billion in assets

As of Monday February 4th, 2019, the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (NYSEArca: MJ), the only US-listed dedicated cannabis exchange traded fund listed, reported $1.01 billion in assets under its management, at least in part due to millennial investors who’ve become “enthralled” with buying and trading cannabis stocks.

The forecasted growth of the US cannabis industry is up to $80 billion

The industry has exploded in just the past year, but this is only the beginning. Wall Street’s top cannabis analyst, Cowen Vivien Azer, predicts that the cannabis industry in the US alone will grow to $80 billion by 2030, assuming national availability in the coming years.

Revenue from the CBD category is forecasted to reach $1 billion per year

CBD is one of the most lucrative categories of products in the cannabis industry, and according to analyst Cowen Vivien Azer, CBD will bring in $1.6 billion in total revenue in the United States within 1 to 2 years.

5. Employment demand

The median salary for cannabis workers is 10.7% higher than the median salary in the US

While the median salary for the cannabis industry is $58,511 per year, the median salary for all US jobs is $52,863, according to Glassdoor’s December 2018 Local Pay Report. The reason for the 10.7% difference remains unclear, but it may be due to the higher cost of living in locations where cannabis employment is available and high salaries for cannabis industry brand ambassadors with big social media presences.

Demand for cannabis industry jobs was up 76% from December 2017 to December 2018

In December of 2017, there were 858 open jobs on Glassdoor within the US cannabis industry. In December of 2018, there 1,512 open roles. That’s a hike of 76%! 13% of those open jobs were in San Francisco and 12% were in Los Angeles.

Glassdoor Economic Research
Image Source: Glassdoor Economic Research
Glassdoor Economic Research
Image Source: Glassdoor Economic Research

6. Legal and compliance issues

New legislation may prohibit cannabis industry billboards within 1,000 feet of schools

Marketing cannabis remains fraught with issues. Billboards are a viable marketing opportunity for the cannabis industry in California, where everything from vapes to cannabis delivery is advertised on major state highways. The state regulations allows marijuana billboards where 71.6% of the audience is expected to be over age 21.

Triggered by outraged parents, new legislation has been proposed to prohibit billboards advertising cannabis within 1,000 feet of schools, parks, churches and other community buildings that serve youth.

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) has inspected only 3% of marijuana retailers

Suffering from capacity issues with the fast growth of recreational marijuana, OLCC (the state agency tasked with regulating the production and sale of recreational marijuana in Oregon) has inspected 3% of retailers and 32% of growers as of January 2019 to check compliance with state regulations. In order to put more inspectors to work, the agency is predicted to raise fees for compliance failures.

11 US Senators support the STATES Act

A total of 11 US Senators (5 Republicans and 6 Democrats) have signed the STATES Act, which would rewrite federal government law to defer to states’ individual policies on legal cannabis, such that an organization compliant with state laws would no longer be deemed unlawful federally and there would be a new influx of tax revenue with these businesses no longer needing to engage in money laundering.

Want more cannabis industry statistics, marijuana usage statistics, and market research?

We’ll be updating this list over time. With the recent opening of the UC Berkeley Cannabis Research Center, tasked with tracking and analyzing the effects of the industry on the state, we’ll be sure to have an influx of great stats in California. The need for industry research will certainly catch on throughout North America, so stay posted!


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