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Marijuana gross sales information exhibits People purchased 67% extra weeds to outlive in 2020

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In a year limited and defined by the coronavirus pandemic, Americans turned to cannabis in record numbers.

Americans spent nearly $ 18 billion on cannabis in 2020. That is 65% more than in the previous year.

Government tax and income data collected and analyzed by Leafly shows that national sales of medical and adult marijuana rose 67% from 2019.

Americans bought cannabis products worth $ 17.9 billion in the past calendar year, up $ 7.2 billion from $ 10.7 billion the previous year.

Medical marijuana is now legal in 37 states while 15 states and Washington, DC have legalized cannabis for all adults.

The pandemic effect

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit the United States in March, many in the cannabis industry worried about a massive industry-wide shutdown. Instead, in most states, governors made cannabis an essential product. Pharmacies and retail stores responded by offering their customers online ordering, roadside pickup and delivery as Covid-safe options.

Customers responded by stocking up on staying home advice for those weeks. After a brief drop in revenue in late March, most stores saw a significant spike in April – and then the spike plateaued.

Even in Massachusetts, where Governor Charlie Baker’s statewide shutdown order temporarily suspended all retail stores in April, cannabis stores saw sales grow 75% annually from 2019. The retailers there will sell around $ 700 million worth of cannabis products by the end of 2020, and $ 400 million in 2019.

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Online ordering and roadside pickup saved the industry

A Terrapin Care Station employee in Colorado will conduct the roadside pickup on March 26, 2020.  (Courtesy of Terrapin Care Station)An employee at Terrapin Care Station in Colorado conducts a roadside pickup on March 26, 2020. These were the beginnings of the pandemic, when health officials knew less about the virus and advised the public to leave masks only for healthcare workers. (Courtesy of Terrapin Care Station)

Customers bought 25% to 40% more

New consumers and patients as well as new constitutional states played a role in the 2020 cannabis boom. However, the main driver was an increase in the average purchase size of established consumers, who increased their average monthly spend from 25% to 40%.

Headset and CannaCraft cannabis data analysts recently analyzed the demographics of monthly cannabis sales in California. The graph they created perfectly captured the pandemic-triggered buying trend in both California and the nation:

2020 cannabis salesThe April 2020 pandemic sales plateaued as Americans relied on cannabis as a mental health and wellness product. (Image courtesy of Headset and CannaCraft)

Dealing with pandemic stress

This year’s sales won’t come as a surprise to retailers who have learned firsthand the importance of cannabis to the lives of their customers, especially since the March pandemic.

In October, multi-state pharmacy operator Verilife surveyed more than 2,000 Americans and found that 72% of respondents identified the Covid-19 pandemic as the leading cause of stress and burnout in their lives this year. Almost 40% said they used cannabis to deal with this burnout. Around 37% said they had used CBD and another 29% said they used marijuana to relieve their stress this year.

2020 Stress Burnout SurveyIn a poll of 2,000 Americans, 72% named COVID-19 the leading cause of mental stress and burnout in 2020. (Data and graphs courtesy of Verilife)

Nine states have more than doubled their sales

Nine states more than doubled their sales for 2019 in 2020: Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maine, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

Florida became the fourth largest cannabis market in the country in 2020. With sales exceeding $ 1.2 billion, the state for medical marijuana was only behind the top adult states of California, Colorado, and Washington.

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Florida and New York: A History of Two States

This year’s sales data also shows the importance of government regulations to patient access and industry success.

Florida and New York have roughly comparable populations – around 20 million people – but their medical marijuana markets have moved in radically different directions.

New York only has 38 licensed pharmacies, a ridiculously low number for a state of 20 million people. In contrast, there are 300 pharmacies in Florida serving a similar population. New York never allowed cannabis flowers to be sold, while flowers now account for roughly half of all medical marijuana sales in Florida.

The result: Florida has four times as many registered patients as New York and had more than ten times its sales in 2020.

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Cannabis Sales Dates: Not Always Easy

Leafly achieved its 2020 sales of $ 17.9 billion by analyzing state-to-state sales.

Some states, such as Massachusetts, post clear and accurate monthly sales data on public websites. Many others keep murky records or publish indirect sales, such as pounds of cannabis flower sold. In these cases, Leafly analysts reverse engineer the data on state cannabis tax revenue and consult the local pharmacy managers for a reasonable estimate of flower prices and market shares.

For the sales figures for the end of December, we estimated the last few weeks of sales by assuming an average of the sales figures for the last three months.

Leafly will be releasing a full stats of 2020 sales by state as part of our annual cannabis employment report in February.

Bruce Barcott

Bruce Barcott, Leafly’s Senior Editor, oversees news, investigations, and feature projects. He is a Guggenheim Fellow and author of Weed the People: The Future of Legal Marijuana in America.

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