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It’s only up from here, at least according to BDSA. Well, sort of. The market research company has updated its cannabis market forecast and predicts legal sales in the US for 2022 will reach ~$27 billion, a 7 percent increase from the ~$25 billion in 2021 sales. BDSA estimates that legal sales in the US will grow to ~$42 billion by 2026 and make up about 75 percent of global cannabis sales. Additionally, they expect a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) or roughly 13 percent, with global sales growing from ~$20 billion in 2021 to ~$57 billion in 2026. 

While the total US market continues to experience topline growth, some of the most established markets are seeing slowdowns in sales. BDSA reports that adult past six-month adoption in fully legal markets topped 50 percent this spring, and predicts that some of these markets will face saturated consumer penetration. Slowed adoption rate means firms must compete on high supply and low prices. Some mature markets are experiencing their first real losses. For example, Nevada’s first-mover advantage has been negated by access in new markets, receding prices, and the stalling of regulatory reforms. 

The most significant declines in sales are expected to hit mature adult-use markets, but medical markets have also been impacted. Patients now have access to increased variety and lower prices in neighboring adult-use markets. Declining medical sales are trending in states that have recently passed adult-use legalization. For example, Arizona launched adult-use sales in 2021 and have since seen medical sales fall sharply, with a 2022 annual dollar sales projection that’s ~30 percent lower than 2021. For context, Colorado’s medical market saw a modest growth in annual dollar sales for about two years after launching adult-use sales in 2014. 

Though sales have plateaued or dropped in some mature markets, newer markets have a promising outlook. BDSA points to Illinois, which is expected to bring in ~$2 billion in total sales for 2022, increasing about 14 percent from total sales in 2021. Meanwhile, the launch of the New York and New Jersey markets represents an expansion of access to around 22 million people, with predicted contributions to total legal sales of more than $5 billion.

 “Though mature legal cannabis markets saw sales soften in 2022 , the US cannabis market is still forecast to see topline growth in 2022, driven by strong sales in new and emerging US Markets, such as the populous states of New Jersey and New York,” said Roy Bingham, CEO and co-founder of BDSA. “The US will continue to dominate global sales over the next few years, but we see potential from emerging global markets such as Germany and Mexico.”

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