Global cannabis sales could reach $15 billion in 2019, a 36% increase year-over-year, according to a report published by Arcview Group and BDS Analytics.
The report, “The State of Legal Cannabis Markets,” evaluated sales of medical and recreational cannabis at dispensaries, hemp-derived products, and approved pharmaceuticals. It projected sales could approach $45 billion by 2024.
According to data from Viridian Capital Advisors, cannabis companies raised $14 billion in 2018 in investment capital, a more than fourfold increase.
Still, although sales grew 20% in 2018, last year marked the slowest growth rate for legal cannabis since Colorado began adult-use in 2014. California saw legal spending on cannabis fall from $3 billion in 2017 to $2.5 billion. Spending on legal cannabis in regulated dispensaries exceeded $9.8 billion and is expected to reach $30 billion by 2024.
Global sales for 2018 were bolstered by legalization of recreational cannabis in Canada, regulatory approval of cannabidiol (CBD) oral solution Epidiolex, and provisions in the 2018 Farm Bill that gave hemp products more legal standing, according to the report.
“These decisions being made at the federal level put pharmacies and general retailers in the business of selling CBD-based products in all 50 states, which substantially boosted the [projections],” Arcview chief executive officer Troy Dayton said in a statement.
California, which voted to allow sales of recreational marijuana in 2016, saw its sales fall to $2.5 billion in 2018 from $3 billion the year before.
In October 2018, Canada legalized recreational marijuana, with sales hitting $113 million for the partial year.
Last June, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Epidiolex to treat Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, two rare forms of epilepsy. It was the first FDA-approved drug that contains a purified drug substance derived from marijuana.
The report’s predictions include assumptions that Europe and Latin America will begin cannabis programs, Canada will be a $5 billion market, and more U.S. states will legalize.