When reports came back showing that legal cannabis sales outpaced Starbucks sales in North America, it raised more than a few eyebrows.
In 2021, legal sales of recreational and medical cannabis combined reached between US$24.5 billion and US$27 billion, while Starbucks sold a reported US$20.5 billion.
This might surprise some given that Starbucks is such a famous and pervasive company, while marijuana and its dispensaries are still relatively, well, green. These numbers are even more shocking once one considers marijuana remains illegal in the U.S. on a federal level and that there is a complete prohibition on its sale and consumption in more than a dozen states.
How, then, did cannabis outsell the world’s biggest coffee retailer? And what does this mean for the future of cannabis sales?
Americans love a good cup of joe, but cannabis is what they really gravitate towards when times get a bit tough. And 2021 was a trying year both economically and mentally for many people.
Cannabis, however, proved it is a strong product in both boom times and challenging ones. “Invest in products that people will always want, in good times or bad. And when it comes to providing a product that people crave the world over, marijuana passes the test,” reported Investing Daily. Marijuana’s ability to thrive in all economic times make it a very marketable product.
While lockdowns and stimulus payments may have helped weed sales in 2021, this growth does not appear to be a one-time thing. In fact, cannabis sales are projected to reach US$33 billion in 2022, according to Fortune, which would represent 32 per cent more than in 2021.
This indicates that marijuana appears to be on a steady growing path that may help it continue to outpace the coffee retailer and, possibly, other iconic companies.
Not only are existing weed markets showing strong sales, several U.S. states legalized recreational cannabis in the last year and are already reporting big numbers.
“New Jersey’s launch of adult-use sales, expected in the second quarter, will likely cause the most substantial jump in any market in the U.S. in 2022,” Jessica Lukas of cannabis data company BDSA told Forbes. BDSA is forecasting sales to increase 220 per cent in 2022 compared to 2021.
The last two years have been tricky and uncertain times, but marijuana shows signs of continuing to grow at a steady rate. Even as U.S. state and federal lawmakers battle it out over whether or not cannabis should be legalized, the weed industry is poised to march ahead with steady or even record gains.
This growth may signal that Americans, as a whole, will continue to spend even more on pot than pumpkin spice lattes.
The FreshToast.com, a U.S. lifestyle site that contributes lifestyle content and, with their partnership with 600,000 physicians via Skipta, medical marijuana information to The GrowthOp.
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