The cannabis industry is thriving, according to a CNN report from last week’s MJ BizCon event in Las Vegas, and could be one of the few industries that’s stronger post-pandemic.
“Despite a global pandemic, discombobulated supply chains, ballooning inflation and an ongoing fight to legalize marijuana on a federal level, the cannabis industry in America is flourishing,” declared the report.
Recession- and Covid-proof?
Sales reached $20 billion in 2020, and will likely exceed $26 billion this year, according to numbers shared by Chris Walsh, CEO and president of Marijuana Business Daily. By 2025, sales are projected to reach an incredible $45.9 billion.
That’s more than the craft beer industry, which saw sales decline by about nine per cent in 2020.
And it’s not just cannabis companies who are benefiting from the growing appetite for regulated products. According to Forbes, the cannabis industry is helping all kinds of non-cannabis businesses, such as propane, heavy equipment, pharmaceutical packaging, and even counterfeit bill detectors.
“[Cannabis companies are] flush with cash and buying,” said Kevin Burg, a senior account manager at food service equipment distributors Clark Associates. “There is tons and tons of opportunity.”
Rocky road ahead
And yet despite the incredible gains in the cannabis industry, an innumerable number of challenges remain: CNN points to California, for example, which is struggling with potentially corrupt regulators, a ballooning illicit market, rock-bottom prices and water shortages. Nationally, CBD still isn’t regulated by the FDA and federal legalization appears to be a long way off — even though many say it’s bound to happen.
“”When you get to the point when half of the country has legalized for adult-use, we have now set a stage for inevitability,” said Steven Hawkins, CEO of the US Cannabis Council and executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. “And that begins to change the tone and tenor in Washington.”