The cannabis industry is composed of legal cultivators and producers, consumers, independent industrial standards bodies, ancillary products and services, regulators and researchers concerning cannabis and its industrial derivative, hemp. The cannabis industry has been inhibited by regulatory restrictions for most of recent history, but the legal market has emerged rapidly as more governments legalize medical and adult use. Uruguay became the first country to legalize recreational marijuana through legislation in December, 2013 Cannabis in Uruguay. Canada became the first country to legalize private sales of recreational marijuana with Bill C-45 in 2018 Cannabis in Canada.
The world economic market has been broken down as follows, showing that the cannabis industry can be considered a multibillion dollar component of a larger pharmaceutical industry. The exact value of cannabis sales worldwide remains unknown as the vast majority of the market remains illicit. With movement around legalisation of Cannabis, it is attracting more investments from alcohol and drug companies.
|Drug||Non-medical drug ("recreational")||hundreds of billions|
|Medical leaf and flower||tens of billions|
|Hemp food-fiber||Oilseed||hundreds of millions|
|Fiber||tens of millions|
|Biomass||hundreds of thousands|
|Other||Phytoremediation||tens of thousands|
Marijuana (drug) sales in North America reached $6.7 billion in 2016, representing 30% growth year-over-year. According to a report by university researcher Jon Gettman, cannabis is the United States' largest cash crop and "a pervasive and ineradicable part of the national economy". A 2015 ArcView Group report stated that it was the fastest growing industry in the United States. The industry in the United States is expected to grow from $2 billion in 2014 to as much as $10 billion in 2018, depending on legalization outcomes. By one estimate the industry in the United States could be $35 billion in 2020. The legal market is estimated to be more than $10 billion as of September 2020, and a report by Morningstar predicts, "nearly 25% average annual growth for the U.S. recreational market and nearly 15% for the medical market through 2030."
The national (non-psychoactive) hemp market was $600 million in 2015,:3 Accurate predictions of potential future legal markets for hemp are deemed impossible to predict due to "the absence since the 1950s of any commercial and unrestricted hemp production in the United States".:7
In a Huffington Post interview, Mark Kleiman, the "Pot Czar" of Washington state, said he was concerned that the National Cannabis Industry Association would favor profits over public health. He also said that it could become a predatory body like the lobbying arms of the tobacco and alcohol industries. Kleiman said: "The fact that the National Cannabis Industry Association has hired itself a K Street suit [lobbyist] is not a good sign."
Cannabis in Uruguay was legalized for adult use in December, 2013. Sales of marijuana are regulated through government distribution with a state-mandated price of $1.30 per gram. Access to marijuana is legal through four sources: medical marijuana through the Ministry of Health, home-grown marijuana, membership clubs, and sales to adults in drugstores.
Canada became the second country to legalize cannabis for adult use on October 17, 2018 Cannabis in Canada. As of December 2017, there were 79 licensed marijuana producers in Canada with most concentrated in Ontario and British Columbia. According Deloitte, the base retail market is valued at $4.9-$8.7 billion annually. Including ancillary opportunities, Deloitte estimates a market worth $12.7-$22.6 billion annually, demonstrating an upside of more than $20 billion.
Ancillary products and services
The cannabis industry is supported by a network of ancillary products and services that do not "touch the plant". The most common ancillary services are professional services followed by information services, banking services, and security. Cultivation structures, installments, and equipment are the most common ancillary products followed by consumption devices, paraphernalia, packaging, processing equipment, software, security equipment, and laboratory supplies. The addition of ancillary products and services amounts to an economic impact that is estimated at four times the value of direct sales of cannabis. Based on this multiplier, the total economic impact of the cannabis industry in the United States was $16-$18 billion in 2016 and is expected to reach $47.6-$68.4 billion by 2021.
Involvement from universities has increased as the industry gains legitimacy worldwide. Northern Michigan University initiated their Medicinal Plant Chemistry Program in 2017, the first undergraduate degree program preparing students for work related to the production, analysis, and distribution of medicinal plants. Daniele Piomelli, a professor at University of California-Irvine, developed an interdisciplinary cannabis research program called the Institute for the Study of Cannabis with the mission to advance cannabis knowledge in academia.
Green Wolverine, founded at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business in 2017, is a nonprofit corporation composed of university student organizations centered on acquiring knowledge related to legal business activities in the cannabis industry. The mission is to discover opportunities for success for university students in cannabis or related fields through education, networking, and recruiting.
Selling accessories related to cannabis is not explicitly illegal in most countries, and such products has been gaining popularity for several decades. As legal cannabis continues to spread, accessory sales have been growing rapidly.
- ASTM D37 – Committee for developing technical standards for cannabis
- Cannabis political parties – Political parties advocating cannabis legalization
- Cannabis product testing – Testing of the properties of cannabis destined for consumer use
- Industrial Hemp Research Program
- List of cannabis companies – Companies active in the cannabis industry
- List of hemp products – Products using hemp as a component material
- Green rush – Economic events & activities following legalization of marijuana in the U.S.
- Gurdus, Elizabeth (2018-09-18). "Investing in cannabis is 'a great hedge' for alcohol and drug companies, Tilray CEO says". CNBC. Retrieved 2018-09-30.
- Small 2016, table 15.1
- Nitya VENKATARAMAN (December 18, 2006), Marijuana Called Top U.S. Cash Crop, ABC News
- Marijuana Production in the United States (2006) by Jon Gettman – Executive Summary, Drug Science
- Jon Gettman, "Marijuana Production in the United States" (2006) cited in Small 2016
- Matt Ferner (January 26, 2015), "Legal Marijuana Is The Fastest-Growing Industry In The U.S.: Report", Huffington Post
- Linton Weeks (May 8, 2014), 13 Spliffy Jobs In The Marijuana Industry, NPR
- Christopher Ingraham (October 24, 2014), "The marijuana industry could be bigger than the NFL by 2020", The Washington Post
- Inton, Kristoffer (September 18, 2020). "A Top Investing Trend for 2030". Morningstar.com. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
- Inton, Kristoffer (October 20, 2020). "Possible Biden Win May Spur Cannabis Industry Growth". Morningstar.com. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
- AMANDA CHICAGO LEWIS (August 23, 2017), "The Great Pot Monopoly Mystery", GQ
- Renée Johnson (March 10, 2017), Hemp as an Agricultural Commodity (PDF), Congressional Research Service, CRS Report RL32725 – via Federation of American Scientists
- "7 Things That Could Totally Kill Weed Legalization's Buzz". Huffington Post. 18 April 2014.
- "Ontario Adds 6 Cannabis Suppliers and 10 Accessories Providers". New Cannabis Ventures. Retrieved 2018-09-30.
- "This company is the future of cannabis e-commerce - BNN Bloomberg". BNN. 2018-09-11. Retrieved 2018-09-30.