Despite the growing pains and the doom-and-gloom predictions for the legal marijuana industry, 2019 global pot sales were nothing short of stunning.
The numbers don’t lie. Worldwide sales of marijuana were spectacular in 2019, soaring 48% year-over-year to $15.0 billion. (Source: “Global Cannabis Sales Grow 48% to $15 Billion in 2019,” Business Wire, January 16, 2020.)
That spectacular growth came despite a raft of regulatory challenges that dampened business activity in Canada, California, and certain other markets.
Recreational cannabis was only legally available in 10 states and D.C., while medical marijuana was legally available in 33 states. Maturing and new markets helped U.S. weed sales account for a whopping 81% of all cannabis sales in 2019.
Recreational pot sales were up 45% at $8.9 billion across the U.S. in 2019. Medical marijuana sales were up even more, rising 54% year-over-year to $6.2 billion.
Keep in mind, global cannabis sales increased by almost 50%, and the marijuana industry is still in its infancy.
Global Pot Sales Projected to Exceed $43 Billion by 2024
The U.S. may be dominating global marijuana sales right now, but over the coming years, the sector will become more balanced, as markets like Canada mature, and as Europe and other international markets either open up or mature.
As a result, global cannabis sales will experience massive growth. What will that look like?
Cannabis bears take note: by 2024, global pot sales are projected to cross the $43.0-billion mark. That represents a compound annual growth rate of 23.5%. (Source: Ibid.)
Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves though; the momentum we experienced in 2019 is forecast to continue in 2020.
Marijuana sales are projected to advance 38% this year, fueled by growth in mature markets and new markets like Illinois, which, on January 1, became the 11th U.S. state to legalize recreational marijuana.
Over the first 12 days of legalization, dispensaries in Illinois sold $20.0 million worth of cannabis products. Some stores even ran out of pot and had to close their doors. (Source: “12 days, $20 million: Recreational weed sales remain high in Illinois,” Chicago Sun Times, January 13, 2020.)
That trend is expected to continue as marijuana loses its stigma and becomes more socially acceptable.
Recreational Pot Sales Will Be Main Growth Driver
Recreational pot is predicted to be the main driver of global growth in the legal marijuana industry through 2024.
That doesn’t mean medical marijuana companies are being held back though. Florida, the state with the third-largest population in the country, sold over $650.0 million in medical marijuana in 2019. (Source: Business Wire, op. cit.)
Oklahoma, meanwhile, is the fastest-growing medical marijuana market in the U.S., and is home to the most medical marijuana dispensaries in the country.
There may be a disconnect right now between global cannabis sales and North American marijuana stocks, but that can only go on for so long. Again, the numbers don’t lie.
The U.S., despite not legalizing pot at the federal level, is expected to capture the majority of legal cannabis sales in 2020.
While most pot stock investors will be focused on the same handful of stocks hogging the limelight, there are a number of other excellent cannabis stocks that should perform well in 2020.