Despite a delay in the U.S. House of Representatives vote for a bill that would seek to legalize cannabis at the national level, the legal cannabis market in the U.S. still stands to substantially grow as more states plan to let voters decide whether they want to legalize it.
Legal Marijuana Market
A study by Denver regulators highlighted that marijuana company ownership in the city and county is predominantly white, spurring a debate over the value of the analysis itself and how to improve local business opportunities for people of color.
Among respondents, 75% of Denver cannabis business owners were white and only 6% of both cannabis business owners and employees were African American.
Hispanic, Latino or Spanish respondents represented about 13% of owners and 12% of employees.
There is one bright spot in the economy: marijuana sales.
In April, Oregon saw $89 million in legal marijuana sales. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission reports marijuana sales were up 45% in April, compared to last year, making April 2020 the largest month on record for the state.
Proponents believe the coronavirus pandemic could be the catalyst for other states and the federal government to legalize marijuana because it would bring tax revenue, create jobs and give the economy a much-needed shot in the arm.
Nearly 50 years later, the use of marijuana has spread from high school age kids taking illegal drags behind walls to a more front and center movement. While still prohibited by federal law (possession can lead to fines and jail time), today, forty-two states and the District of Columbia currently have laws legalizing marijuana for either medical or recreational use.
On Tuesday, Oregon’s cannabis regulators reported that the state sold a record-breaking $84.5 million worth of weed in March as residents stocked up to prepare for government-ordered self-quarantines.
The Oregon Liquor Control Commission, which oversees the Beaver State’s legal cannabis industry, announced that pot shops sold more weed last month than in the same month the previous year. In March 2019, Oregon sold $61.2 million worth of weed.
Marie Janes Cannabis Connection, located in Corvallis, OR, announced yesterday that it plans to give “new meaning to the term pizza joint” after it became the first marijuana dispensary in the U.S. to add in-house pizza to its cannabis delivery and pickup menu.
“My number-one priority is to supply all the ingredients customers need to make memorable moments, even if the memories of those moments are a little fuzzy,” said Marie Janes owner, Christina Jancila. “Good pizza is nice, but not memorable. Our goal was to come out of the gate offering the best pizza in town.”
Comparing sales from March 7-31 to the more than nine weeks before it, “cannabis-infused beverages jumped from 1% of overall sales to 14%, beating ‘flower’ sales, which is unheard of,” marketing firm Headset reports .
Edible sales grew the most, by 28% percent, it says.
Meanwhile, sales of pre-rolls and topicals dropped by 13% each, Headset reports .
Users are clearly stocking up, experts say.
Drinks and edibles now account for the largest chunk of American cannabis markets for pretty basic reasons, they say:
Adult-use marijuana sales plunged over the weekend, only a few days after skyrocketing to new heights as consumers prepared for fallout from coronavirus.
The response might mark a natural decline after consumers stocked up before sheltering in place or it could be the result of economic pressures from the pandemic, which has resulted in the closure of restaurants, gyms, ski resorts and scores of other businesses as well as the loss of thousands of jobs.
Governor Cuomo's rollout of a reworked Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act means this may finally be the year New Yorkers get access to legal weed. And while a similar legalization push floundered in the statehouse last year, many are optimistic about its odds during the 2020 legislative session. Not only are the vast majority of New Yorkers in favor of adult-use sales, but legislators staring down the barrel of a $6 billion budget hole will be hard-pressed to turn down an estimated $300 million in annual tax revenue.