With the legalization of medicinal marijuana in Oklahoma, there are now 30 states (plus D.C.) that allow weed for medicine or for recreational use. Even though cannabis is still federally illegal, it hasn’t stopped the phenomenal growth of the industry. With the herb set to become fully legal in Canada by the end of 2018, we are potentially entering a golden age of marijuana sale and consumption.
It feels as if 2018 is only the beginning, and here are ten crucial cannabis statistics for you to sink your teeth into; Jeff Sessions and co. certainly do not like #8!
1 – Ecuador Has the World’s Cheapest Weed
Ecuador has very strange marijuana laws. It is illegal to sell the substance, yet you can legally use it for personal consumption in quantities of up to 10 grams. The nation believes that marijuana is more of a health concern than a crime. As a result, it is smoked openly in some communities. You can purchase marijuana in Ecuador for just $1.34 a gram on average; that’s little more than $30 an ounce.
At the other end of the spectrum, marijuana costs $32.66 a gram in Tokyo, Japan. As usage and possession are crimes punishable by up to five years in prison, perhaps it is best to avoid weed entirely in the Land of the Rising Sun. For reference, Washington D.C. has America’s most expensive weed at $18.08 a gram, while Seattle residents pay just $7.58 a gram on average.
2 – The Big Apple is the World’s Weed Capital
Weed is legal for medicinal use in New York City (and state), and possession of fewer than 25 grams has been decriminalized. Despite its limited legality, Big Apple residents consume more cannabis than in any other city on the plant. With total annual consumption of over 77 metric tons, New York is miles ahead of Karachi, in second place, with 41.95 tons. Oddly enough, marijuana is illegal in the Pakistani city.
LA is fourth on the global list with 36 metric tons consumed each year, while Chicago is eighth with over 24 tons. At the other end of the scale, Singapore has the lowest amount of consumption at 0.02 tons per annum. This is mainly because the nation of Singapore has among the world’s strictest anti-weed laws. Possession or consumption could result in 10 years in prison. Trafficking more than 500 grams could result in the death penalty!
3 – Legal Weed Sales in America May Rise by 50% in 2018
In 2017, legal marijuana sales in the U.S. were placed between $5.8 billion and $6.6 billion. However, legal sales are expected to be between $7.9 billion and $9.7 billion in 2018. If we focus on the midpoints of both figures only, it represents an increase of over 40%. California alone may be responsible for an incredible $500 million.
4 – Legal Sales Set to Top $22 Billion by 2022
We did say that 2018 was just the beginning! Marijuana sales should grow by at least 25% per annum, a figure that will increase if any further states legalize the herb. Even at the low end of the estimate, the market will be worth $18 billion in four years. The growth of the market in Colorado is just a microcosm of the industry. The 2017 sales figure for the state was almost $1.5 billion, an increase of over 100% on the 2014 figure of $699 million.
5 – The Marijuana Jobs Market is Growing by An Average of 20% Per Annum
The rapid rate of the industry’s growth is best viewed through a jobs lens. There are up to 160,000 people employed by the marijuana market at present, but that figure is likely to more than double to 340,000 by 2022. This equates to a jobs growth figure of 21% per year. For the sake of comparison, the healthcare industry will see employment growth of just 2% over the same timeframe.
6 – Recreational Marijuana Sales Will Be Twice That of Medicinal Marijuana Sales Within Four Years
Even though there are over twice as many states where weed is legal for medicinal use only, recreational users are voting with their wallets and purchasing marijuana in enormous quantities. Medical weed sales will grow solidly over the next few years and, by 2022, will account for up to $7.3 billion of the market.
However, recreational sales are set to quadruple in the next four years with an estimated market share of up to $14.8 billion. We have already reached the point where the recreational market is bigger; that was guaranteed by legalization in California.
7 – Marijuana’s Economic Impact is Estimated at $34 Billion Per Annum
The ‘economic impact’ of marijuana is based on retail sales and includes a ‘multiplier’ of 3.5. In other words, for every $1 we spend on weed, we create an economic benefit of $2.50 across the United States. This impact includes improved employment, more money going back into communities, and a possible living standard increase due to the money raised through taxation. Best of all, the economic impact of weed is likely to exceed $75 billion per annum within four years.
8 – Total Marijuana Demand is Over SEVEN Times Greater Than Legal Supply
If Jeff Sessions is reading this, we hope he has a comfortable seat! Remember, the ‘midpoint’ of estimated legal sales in 2017 was around $6.2 billion. However, total cannabis demand in the United States is over seven times higher. The total marijuana market was worth over $52 billion in 2017, which means it generated approximately $46 billion worth of illegal sales. While it is a clear sign that legal sellers have a fantastic opportunity, it is also yet another signal that the futile war on marijuana has failed.
9 – The Marijuana Market Could Become Bigger Than the Tobacco Industry
This can only be achieved if weed is fully legalized across the United States. According to the Wall Street Journal, the cigarette industry was worth over $93 billion in 2017, over 15 times more than the legal weed market but less than twice as much as the total cannabis industry.
If marijuana ever became fully legalized, it would benefit from stronger pricing power and a greater level of consumption. One wonders how many million Americans would use it more regularly if they were no longer fearful of prosecution?
Investors are plowing money into the marijuana industry in the hope that it continues to grow. For example, ETFMG Alternative Harvest became the first United States listed marijuana ETF in December 2017. In little over two months, almost $400 million was poured into the ETF by investors. Is this a sign of things to come, or are marijuana stocks already overpriced?
10 – A Majority of Republican Voters Believe Marijuana Should be Legalized for Medicinal Use
According to a Gallup Poll in October 2017, the most recent on the subject, 64% of Americans believe that marijuana should be legal as medicine. Remarkably, 51% of Republican voters approved of legal weed, the first time a majority has ever been achieved. An estimated 12% of American adults currently use marijuana, and approximately 45% have tried it at least once.
The overall figure is a significant increase on the 44% of Americans who believed it should be legalized in 2010. The first poll, conducted in 1969, showed that only 12% of Americans supported legalization! Support for cannabis legalization has grown steadily in the last few years as more states make it available as a medicine to their citizens.
If the above statistics prove anything, it is that finally, most Americans realize the anti-marijuana rhetoric is worth ignoring. While there are still millions of conservatives who base their views of the herb on propaganda from the 1930s, it is a delight to see so many people change their opinion when presented with cold, hard facts.