A report published by the cannabis data company BDSA projects that by 2026, global cannabis sales will rise to $57 billion—an increase from the $30 billion of global cannabis sales collected in 2021. The “Global Market Forecast” was published on Sept. 13, and reviews expected milestones for the cannabis industry to hit within the next five years.
“The ‘hockey stick’ trend of sales growth seen in the early years of legal cannabis has passed, and economic and regulatory headwinds are exerting pressure on legal cannabis markets,” said BDSA CEO Roy Bingham in a press release. “Still, our updated forecast predicts that steady gains in developing U.S. markets will continue to drive single-digit annual growth in total U.S. legal sales in 2022, with continued growth prospects out to 2026.”
The report also projects that in the U.S., sales will rise from $25 billion in 2021 to $42 billion in 2026, making up about 75% of total global cannabis sales.
BDSA addresses how mature cannabis market prices are experiencing historically low prices. According to the Colorado Department of Revenue, adult-use sales continue to drop. Recreational sales in June 2022 reached $127,157,358, compared to June 2021 which reached $152,719,813. Medical cannabis sales in Colorado also follow a similar dip compared to last year’s sales data.
However, BDSA adds that states such as Oregon and Washington have implemented moratoriums to prevent over supply. Newer markets such as Illinois are continuing to do well though, having collected $2 billion in total sales in 2022 so far (14% more than sales collected in 2021). The report notes that markets like New Jersey, which recently launched its adult-use program, and New York, which is preparing for recreational cannabis sales very soon, will be high contributors to sales in the U.S. by 2026.
Between New Jersey and New York, there are 22 million adults who are expected to contribute $5 billion to the total $42 billion expected to be collected in 2026. “Though mature legal cannabis markets in the U.S. saw sales soften in 2022, the cannabis market is still forecast to see topline growth in 2022, driven by strong sales in new and emerging markets, such as the populous states of New Jersey and New York,” Bingham said. “The U.S. will continue to dominate global sales over the next few years, but we see potential from emerging global markets such as Germany and Mexico.”
Medical cannabis sales continue to decline, especially in markets that recently legalized adult-use sales like Arizona. “BDSA projects annual dollar sales in Arizona’s medical channel will be 30% lower than the 2021 annual dollar sales total and roughly half the annual sales total seen in 2020—the last full year of medical-only sales,” BDSA states in a press release. “By contrast, the Colorado medical channel still saw modest growth in annual sales for roughly two years after the launch of its adult-use market in 2014.”
On an international scale, larger countries are continuing to ramp up their medical and or recreational cannabis programs. Germany recently hit a roadblock with the concern that an adult-use reform measure might be rejected by the European Union. Mexico decriminalized cannabis last summer, but adult-use cannabis has not yet been legalized. Smaller countries are beginning to take action, such as the U.S. Virgin Islands, which released a draft of medical cannabis rules in August. Bermuda, a territory of the United Kingdom, recently made plans to implement a legalization bill, but it was rejected by U.K. officials.