2022 Cannabis Trends in Review 

How did the cannabis industry fair in 2022? What were the general trends? And what can we anticipate for next year? Who bought cannabis in 2022? What about inflation? We’ll discuss all of that below. The data comes from Headset‘s business intelligence software. They track real-time sales reporting from cannabis retailers via their point-of-sale systems. 2022 Cannabis Trends in Review In the United States, total market sales remained relatively flat throughout the year, except for a few seasonal fluctuations. Total […]

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Annual Leafly Report Shows US Cannabis Industry Supports 428,059 Jobs

The 2022 job report from Leafly explores the newest data on cannabis jobs, which provides an in-depth look at the cannabis industry’s most recent data, as well as predictions for the future.

In conjunction with Whitney Economics, Leafly released its annual Jobs Report 2022 on February 23. The report states that approximately 428,059 full-time jobs have been supported by the legal cannabis industry (as of January 2022) over the past year. This covers a wide variety of cannabis-related roles, from “plant-touching” jobs such as cultivation and retail sales, to ancillary jobs such as accounting, legal affairs, security, or construction. The most recent job number is a large increase compared to previous years, which reflected 321,000 jobs in 2021; 243,700 jobs in 2020; 211,000 in 2019; 149,300 in 2018; and 122,800 in 2017 (the first year that the job report was released).

“In the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, America’s cannabis industry sold nearly $25 billion in products and created more than 107,000 new jobs—enough to fill the Rose Bowl and then some,” the report states in its introduction. “That’s a 33 percent increase in jobs in a single year. And it marks the fifth year in a row of annual job growth greater than 27 percent. No other industry in America can match that. Last year, America’s legal cannabis industry created more than 280 new jobs every day. In 2021, someone was hired for a cannabis-supported job about every two minutes of the work day.” The report also provides other means of comparison to put things into perspective, including how there are three times as many cannabis workers as there are dentists in the U.S. and that there are more people working in cannabis than there are a combined total of hair stylists, barbers, and cosmetologists.

It also breaks down the top 10 cannabis markets for jobs, including California, Colorado, Michigan, Illinois, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania (medical only), Florida (medical only), Arizona, Washington, and Oregon. However, the report also recommends that if you’re looking to relocate for a cannabis job, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, and New York are full of possibilities for various listed reasons, such as the potential of specific markets that are new or beginning soon, or mature markets with a competing illegal market.

Report authors estimate that these numbers will only continue to rise in the coming years, but there is a lot of opportunity for growth. “In the eight years since the nation’s first adult-use cannabis stores opened, the industry has created hundreds of thousands of new American jobs. And there are still plenty yet to be created. Whitney Economics calculates that the 2021 total cannabis sales figure—just under $25 billion—represents only about 25 percent of the total potential US cannabis market,” the report states. It continues by saying that 75 percent of the cannabis industry’s demand is being satisfied by illegal cultivation and sales, and it is estimated that by 2025, the cannabis industry could be worth up to $45 billion.

This data continues to be an important milestone to track the industry’s growth, even amidst the historical job loss that occurred during the pandemic. According to NORML Political Director Morgan Fox, the future looks promising. “At a time when the rest of the economy is struggling and people are leaving their jobs in droves, the legal cannabis industry is blooming, showing exponential employment growth, and attracting talented and driven individuals from across the workforce,” said Fox. “Yet, outdated federal laws define these same people as criminals and as a result, they are frequently denied access to banking services, housing, education, international travel, and citizenship. It is long past time for Congress to end prohibition and start treating this robust regulated market like any other industry.”

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Report Calls for UK to Embrace Potential of Medical Cannabis Industry

An advocacy organization known as Volteface recently released a report entitled “New Leaf: Beyond Brexit, Countering Covid” explores how the United Kingdom (UK) is missing out by not fully embracing the opportunities of the medical cannabis industry. 

Head of Programming at the Adam Smith Institute, Daniel Pryor, wrote the foreword for the report, stating that the UK is poised to become highly successful if it embraces the plant. 

“The European market for medical cannabis is the fastest growing in the world, and our unique position gives us the prospect of becoming a leading player in medical cannabis and CBD,” said Pryor. 

“This paper provides a fascinating overview of the state of play in these markets, opportunities for growth and the regulatory questions that face the sector. It shows how the UK is in a prime position to become the centre of the European medical cannabis and CBD industry, as well as the significant economic benefits that would result.”

Volteface’s report estimates that the UK medical cannabis market could be worth up to £1.2 billion. With this much potential, it predicts that a full-fledged medical cannabis industry could create up to 41,437 jobs, and 17,000 ancillary jobs.

The report also includes a list of seven recommendations for the UK to embrace, including:

  1. A “cannabis tsar” or governmental agency to help drive the UK toward medical cannabis legalization and regulation.
  2. Clarity from the Food Standards Association in regards to the legal amount of THC allowed in CBD products.
  3. An investment in innovation for growth in the cannabis industry, as well as communication with the National Farmers Union “to represent producer interest.”
  4. Following up with a previous recommendation from Volteface, allowing hemp seeds/plants over 0.2 percent THC and up to one percent, which would “improve the health of the plant and increase the yield of CBD per acre.”
  5. Pursuing legislative changes to speed up the flow of products, which would simplify the process and improve patient access.
  6. Changing legislation that requires medical cannabis prescriptions to be made by doctors via the specialist register.
  7. Conduct a government funded national trial on medical cannabis products to “fully unlock the UK market.”

The entirety of the report is separated into four sections. First, “The Economic Opportunity,” recommending that the UK become an “investment hub” with some of the largest cannabis companies in the world, such as Aphria Inc, Aurora and Canopy Growth. The report identifies the top 20 markets (both European countries and U.S. states). “This UK market estimate demonstrates the immense economic opportunity the cannabis sector holds. 

By developing the UK into a European cannabis industry leader, this will hold a significant amount of capital, in the realms of £1.265 billion,” the report states. As mentioned previously, it also dives into the job-related data of many states in the U.S. and how cannabis contributes to the local economy as well.

Second, “The Innovation Opportunity” opens up the conversation about the potential growth, using case studies conducted on Kanabo, an Israel-based R&D company that created what the report calls “groundbreaking,” and CiiTECH, a CBD company focused on cannabinoid research which seeks to “legitimize CBD as a health product.”

Together, the report hopes that these case studies showcase the benefits of innovation, and argues that only through innovation can the cannabis industry push past decades of prohibition into a new and prosperous era.

Third, “The UK CBD Advantage” addresses a “novel food,” which is a European law that defines a product that does not have history prior to May 1997 as a way to monitor newer developed “foods” for consumer safety. With cannabis in mind, the report addresses the challenges of compliance enforcement.

Finally, “Increasing European Competition” covers the current industries in Denmark and France, ending with a call to action for the UK to remove its barriers to medical cannabis access and begin looking toward the future. 

“The UK industry is taking off with a quickly changing landscape. Though things are looking good, there is more work to be done. If the UK wants to continue developing into a key industry leader, it must look into a controlled framework for medical cannabis access. Access must be expanded to get medical cannabis properly off its feet and see long term development.”

Many more details are available to review in Volteface’s report, which is viewable here.

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