There is great debate surrounding whether recreational or medical cannabis sales will ultimately be larger. Based on statistics, medical sales may not be more than rec sales, but medical markets are still thriving in areas with legal recreational markets. But…will this always be the case? While we can make many different predictions, only time will tell.
When it comes to medical cannabis, taxes tend to be lower. Also, there are more states currently with medical programs than there are with recreational markets, so it is obvious that those areas will have higher medical cannabis sales. However, in states where both markets co-exist, the specifics of what the medical program allows and the level of access it provides for patients plays a major role in the sales between the two markets.
Colorado reported total revenue of $1.55 billion in sales from cannabis in 2017, while only $332 million were from medical cannabis sales. The medical market, however, only allows access to cannabis for patients with a small handful of conditions and there are many other conditions that adults suffer from that are not covered under the medical program. Therefore, adults are technically purchasing cannabis they use medicinally through the recreational market.
Kind of screwy right? If you ask me, and many people will agree, there is no such thing as recreational cannabis consumption. Whether you consume it to get rid of pain or to stop seizures or you smoke a joint to relax at the end of the night when cannabis is consumed, it benefits the body medicinally…and sometimes that means a good buzz for the consumer too.
While recreational sales are currently leading the way in places such as Colorado and California, many people question if this is because there are minimal states that have access to a legal recreational market. Not to mention the increased sales from the influx of tourism to these states with a legalized rec market.
What About CBD?
Many people believe that medical cannabis sales should also include the sale of CBD seeing how CBD isn’t utilized recreationally. In this case, even if all 50 states had legal recreational markets, it is likely that medical cannabis sales would remain on top. In 2017, CBD sales reached $9.7 billion. Current predictions place the CBD market alone at around $22 billion by the year 2020, and the most recent estimate places the market at $47 billion by 2027.
According to a report released by BDS Analytics, in 2017 total global cannabis sales including recreational and medical were estimated to be around $9.5 billion dollars. In 2018, global cannabis sales achieved a new high reaching $12.2 billion with over half to be sales from the recreational market.
Which do you think will come out on top? If you ask me, in any scenario where there are legal cannabis sales is a win-win for everyone!