Industry insiders are forecasting that global cannabis sales could total $14.9 billion in 2019, up 36% from 2018, according to a new report released Thursday.
For the first time, the annual "The State of Legal Cannabis Markets" report evaluated the cannabis industry as the "Total Cannabinoid Market," meaning it encompassed sales of medical and recreational cannabis at dispensaries; hemp-derived products rich in non-psychoactive cannabidiol, or CBD; and US Food & Drug Administration approved CBD-based pharmaceuticals.
The surge of CBD products coupled with Canada starting legal recreational cannabis sales in 2018 helped to buoy the industry's growth, according to the report published by the market research arm of cannabis investment firm Arcview Group and data firm BDS Analytics. This was the first full year to evaluate the effects of three significant developments in the cannabis industry: the FDA approval of CBD-based drug Epidiolex, legal adult use sales starting in Canada, and the 2018 Farm Bill giving hemp products more legal standing.
"These decisions being made at the federal level put pharmacies and general retailers in the business of selling CBD-based products in all 50 states, which substantially boosted the [projections]," Troy Dayton, Arcview's chief executive officer, said in a statement.
The seventh edition of the report — like publications Arcview published previously — includes a calculated gaze into the crystal ball, projecting industry sales. Arcview and BDS' latest expectations are that cannabis sales in dispensaries, retail stores and pharmacies will hit $44.8 billion globally by 2024.
Still, Arcview expects the bulk of sales to remain at dispensaries, followed by retail stores and then pharmacies. Sales of CBD products across those channels are poised to hit $20 billion in 2024, the researchers projected.
The long-term predictions include several assumptions such as Canada becoming a $5 billion market; European and Latin America countries launching cannabis programs; and US states such as Arizona, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico and New York legalizing the recreational use of cannabis.
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