U.S. Cannabis Sales Projected to Top $30 Billion in 2022

Thanks to Industry Growth & New Markets, U.S. Cannabis Sales Expected to Soar

Thanks to the increasing adoption of marijuana legalization and the growth of the pot industry, U.S. cannabis sales are projected to top $30.0 billion in 2022.

And that number will only grow over the coming years as more and more states legalize medical marijuana and recreational marijuana.

The green wave has really been gaining steam since the 2020 U.S. election. Since that time, five states have legalized marijuana on some level: Arizona (recreational), Mississippi (medical), Montana (recreational), New Jersey (recreational), and South Dakota (recreational and medical).

In 2021, four states (Connecticut, New Mexico, New York, and Virginia) have passed legislation to legalize recreational marijuana. In total, 19 states and D.C. have legalized recreational marijuana. Meanwhile, 37 states have approved medical marijuana.

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Other states are looking at legalizing recreational marijuana in 2021, with legislation pending in Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin.

This situation has led Headset, a Seattle-based cannabis analytics firm, to boost its U.S. cannabis sales projections to more than $30.0 billion for 2022. According to its recent report, the sales will grow by 27.7% from $18.5 to $23.6 billion in 2021 and by 29.3% to $30.5 billion in 2022. (Source: “Top Cannabis Researcher Ups 2022 U.S. Forecast to $30 Billion Due to More Markets Legalizing,” Forbes, July 15, 2021.)

Marijuana flower is expected to be the biggest growth driver in the legal pot sector in 2022. It’s projected to capture 47% of the total U.S cannabis sales, followed by vape pens (21%), edibles (10%), pre-rolls (nine percent), and concentrates (nine percent). Capsules, topicals, beverages, tinctures, and sublinguals will make up the rest.

You can expect U.S. cannabis sales to continue soaring over the coming years. In 2022, a number of states could put marijuana legalization measures on their midterm ballots.

Florida, Hawaii, Minnesota, Nebraska, and North Dakota are some of the front runners for possible weed legalization in 2022.

Even U.S. Surgeon General Backs Decriminalizing Cannabis

Recreational marijuana is still illegal at the federal level in the U.S., but the much-ballyhooed discussion draft of the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, which is backed by Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden, and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, aims to end to that. (Source: “Cannabis Administration & Opportunity Act,” U.S. Senate, last accessed July 22, 2021.)

The legislation would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, allow pot companies to access traditional banking channels, and allow states to determine their own cannabis laws, similar to the way alcohol is regulated.

The bill faces an uphill battle, but proponents are hopeful.

For starters, a whopping 91% of American adults believe marijuana should either be legal for medical and recreational use (60%) or for medical use only (31%). Just eight percent say marijuana should not be legal on any level. (Source: “Americans Overwhelmingly Say Marijuana Should Be Legal for Recreational or Medical Use,” Pew Research Center, April 16, 2021.)

That’s a big jump since 2000, when 31% of American adults were in favor of legalizing recreational cannabis and 63% were opposed.

What politician is going to want to ignore that kind of data?

What’s more, even the surgeon general backs decriminalizing cannabis.

“When it comes to decriminalization, I don’t think that there is value to individuals or to society to lock people up for marijuana use,” said Surgeon General Vivek Murthy. “I don’t think that serves anybody well.” (Source: “Video: Schumer Introduces Legislation to Decriminalize Marijuana,” CNN Politics, July 18, 2021.)

Murthy added, “I do think that, in terms of our approach to marijuana, I worry when we don’t let science guide our process in policy-making.”

The Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act wouldn’t be the same as full-on legalization, but even decriminalizing cannabis would be a big step forward for the U.S. cannabis industry.

Analyst Take

The legalization of recreational cannabis in the U.S. is an eventuality. The big question is when. The Democrats are currently in control of the Senate and House, but the discussion draft of the proposed legislation to decriminalize marijuana is still in its early stages.

That said, with marijuana legalization gaining momentum, U.S. cannabis sales skyrocketing, and cash-strapped states looking for ways to shore up their balance sheets, it’s only a matter of time until Washington, D.C. gets on board.