Sorry prohibitionists: there's no holding back the growth of the legal cannabis industry. Despite concerns that the recent boom in cannabis investment might be a temporary bubble, and the fact that federal cannabis reform is moving slower than molasses, financial analysts still believe the industry will overcome these obstacles and expand exponentially.
A recent financial report by the Cowen Group, one of the first investment firms to start reporting on cannabis stocks, predicts that the global legal weed industry could grow to $75 billion in sales by 2030, more than nine times higher than the $8 billion in legal sales recorded last year. Christopher Carey of the Bank of America also believes that the cannabis sector will continue to grow steadily, eventually reaching a market cap of $166 billion in annual sales.
A new report by Andrew Carter, a financial analyst with the Wall Street projection firm Stifel, is vastly more optimistic. This new report predicts that the cannabis industry will rake in around $200 billion in global sales by 2029, a 25-fold increase over last year's sales figures.
Canada, the first and only G-7 country to legalize adult use nationwide, is expected to increase its share of global pot sales as it irons out the kinks in its supply chain. The Canadian weed market has recorded just over $300 million in sales in the first six and a half months since the retail market kicked off, and these figures have been growing month by month.
"The market is quickly taking shape with the latest update from Stats Canada suggesting a $900 million [USD $690 million] annualized market in April with sales in the month up 23% sequentially likely driven by the cannabis enthusiast holiday 4/20 and initial store openings in Ontario," the report said, according to MarketWatch. By 2023, Stifel is predicting Canadian legal weed sales will reach $7.6 billion.
While these Canadian sales forecasts are nothing to sneeze at, the report predicts that Canada's contribution to the global market will pale in comparison to the US. By the end of the next decade, the report estimates that the US cannabis industry will top $100 billion in annual sales, exceeding what the Cowen Group predicted for total global sales. Carter is basing this prediction on his belief that the US will relax or even entirely do away with cannabis prohibition within the next decade.
Still, the report does not predict a major shift in federal pot policy until 2021, when a shakeup of Senate leadership could open the door for robust cannabis reform. "While there has been a flurry of legislation in Congress with a number of items achieving success in the House of Representatives, we believe the political calculus of Senate majority leader Senator Mitch McConnell favors keeping any cannabis legislation from reaching the Senate floor for a vote," the analysts wrote, MarketWatch reports.