Global Weed Industry Expected to Hit $89 Billion by 2024, Despite COVID-19 Chaos
If the world’s economy can bounce back relatively quickly from the coronavirus pandemic, weed markets may actually be worth even more money than previously projected.
Published on April 29, 2020

If the global markets can resume their pre-pandemic courses in the foreseeable future, the cannabis industry could reach $89 billion in sales by 2024. 

On Wednesday, Mordor Intelligence, an international marketing insights firm, projected that the cannabis market would soar due to its intersections with other industries, such as cosmetics, nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, food, and beverage.

“Mordor Intelligence says that the medicinal properties of cannabis, increasing the legalization of cannabis, and increasing advances in genetic development and intellectual property of cannabis are and will be the drivers in the market,” Financial News Media reported. But the primary driver, according to Mordor, will be the cannabis legalization part. 

This year, at least two countries may join Canada by legalizing marijuana at the federal level. Mexico has already effectively legalized recreational sales of the plant, but the legislature must still approve regulations before the first sales can be made. New Zealand will also vote by national referendum to legalize recreational weed across the island country.  

Furthermore, a handful of US states may soon be voting to reform their cannabis laws, either this year or next, depending on how soon social distancing can control the spread of the coronavirus in those areas. 

Mordor’s projections are also notably higher than previous global weed market projections. In 2017, a separate analytics firm, New Frontier Data, suggested the cannabis industry could be worth over $24 billion by 2025 — or $65 billion less than the figure projected in Mordor Intelligence’s latest report. 

Other market projects place the global cannabis market even higher than Mordor’s estimation, at as high as $200 billion by 2029.

Cannabis businesses have, so far, proven to be both relatively recession-proof and “essential” during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although it’s still too soon to tell if the economy will slide further into a depression, or if the latest state reopenings will get the nation’s finances back on track, weed sales in some legal states — such as California and Oregon — are doing better than they have around the same time in previous years. However, states that depend heavily on tourism, such as Colorado and Nevada, are seeing pot sales take nosedives as a result of state-ordered lockdowns.

Overall, the weed industry demonstrated its adaptability and flexibility during the COVID-19 crisis, as well. While some cannabis consumers grew concerned that smoking weed could jeopardize their health if they caught the coronavirus, pot shops could offer alternatives in the form of edibles, drinkables, topicals, sublinguals, and sprays in place of burnable bud.

Mordor Intelligence’s projections could offer a glimmer of hope amid a slumping economy, too. Market experts and industry insiders have suggested that increased legalization of marijuana could repair economies damaged by the pandemic, as the weed industry employs a significant number of people both within licensed marijuana operations and among ancillary industries such as lighting systems, watering systems, soils, and fertilizers. 

And besides, if there’s one thing people are guaranteed to set aside cash for during the apocalypse: It’s weed, man. 

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Randy Robinson
Based in Denver, Randy studied cannabinoid science while getting a degree in molecular biology at the University of Colorado. When not writing about cannabis, science, politics, or LGBT issues, they can be found exploring nature somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. Catch Randy on Twitter and Instagram @randieseljay
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