Cannabis Business Times
by Eric Sandy
2 March 2021
BOULDER, Colo., March 2, 2021 – PRESS RELEASE – BDSA announced today the release of its 2020 cannabis sales data and forecast future sales by region. Global cannabis sales reached nearly $21.3 billion in 2020, an increase of 48% over 2019 sales of $14.4 billion. BDSA forecasts global cannabis sales will grow from $21.3 billion in 2020 to $55.9 billion in 2026, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 17%.
“The cannabis industry faced numerous challenges in the past few years, none so potentially disruptive as the coronavirus pandemic in 2020,” said Micah Tapman, Chief Executive Officer, BDSA. “Our previous forecast was conservative based on the expected economic fallout from the pandemic, but the industry not only survived, it thrived and legal cannabis gained considerable ground, exceeding our expectations in several markets.”
Many mature markets in the United States saw accelerated growth in 2020 – Colorado grew by 26%, double its 13% rise in 2019, and Oregon expanded by 39%, versus 21% in 2019. Canada, the largest national market, grew by 61% in 2020 to more than $2.6 billion, boosted by the late-2019 introduction of a host of new product options under the government’s new “Cannabis 2.0” rules, which authorized sales of derivative products such as edibles.
Even so, new markets are key to future growth. Medical and adult-use markets that launched in 2019 and 2020 contributed $1.6 billion in spending in 2020, $422 million in medical and nearly $1.2 billion in adult-use. Five new U.S. markets legalized medical or adult-use cannabis during the 2020 elections: Arizona, Mississippi, New Jersey, Montana and South Dakota. BDSA expects four new medical and five new adult-use markets to commence sales in 2021.
These data reflect legal cannabis market forecasts. CBD market forecasts are also available for sale from BDSA and include CBD-dominant products (derived from marijuana or hemp) sold in dispensaries, pharmaceuticals, and CBD products in general retail (derived from hemp).
Legal cannabis sales in the U.S. passed $17.5 billion in 2020, growth of 46% over 2019’s $12.1 billion. BDSA forecasts U.S. sales to reach $41.3 billion in 2026, a CAGR of 15%. Illinois, which launched adult-use last year, saw the largest dollar gain in 2020, rising by $784 million. Several other markets saw major expansion, the top four being California (+$586 million), Florida (+$473 million), Colorado (+$451 million) and Oklahoma (+$400 million).
Legal cannabis sales in Canada totaled an estimated $2.6 billion in 2020 and are forecast to grow to nearly $6.4 billion in 2026, a CAGR of 16%. Canada began legal adult-use sales in late 2018 and allowed dramatically expanded product offerings in both the medical and adult-use markets. During the year, BDSA Retail Sales Tracking data in Alberta and British Columbia showed rapid growth in shares of new Cannabis 2.0 product categories.
Sales of legal cannabis products, including cannabis-derived pharmaceuticals, outside the U.S. and Canada broke the $1 billion mark in 2020, with nearly $1.1 billion in spending. BDSA forecasts international sales will exceed $8.3 billion in 2026, a CAGR of 40%. The bulk of that new legal spending will be driven by Mexico (104% CAGR) and Germany (36% CAGR), though the U.K. (57% CAGR) and France will contribute significantly (186% CAGR). Mexico is expected to account for almost 32% of legal cannabis spending beyond the U.S. and Canada in 2026.