Plotting One’s Course Amid Sea Changes in the Cannabis Industry

By J.J. McCoy, Senior Managing Editor for New Frontier Data

Even before this year’s watershed event of the opening of California’s adult-use market, the U.S. legal cannabis market in 2017 was worth an estimated $8.3 billion. At a compound annual rate (CAGR) of 13.7%, the market is expected to surpass $23 billion by 2025.

New Frontier Data’s forthcoming report, The U.S. Cannabis Report: 2018 Industry Outlook, identifies a dozen topics for consideration, analysis, and description through case studies, including:

  1. Legislative Action:From a vantage point now just five months ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, federal and legislative actions loom large. While New Frontier Data’s projections do not include assumptions about potential changes to federal policy before 2025, such variables are naturally worth consideration as cannabis becomes a platform issue.
  1. Growing Support: According to the Pew Research Center, support for cannabis legalization is one of the fastest evolving social issues in the U.S. today. Nationwide support now has 61% of Americans favoring full legalization, up from 41% in 2010, and nearly double the 31% supporting it in 2000. With a strong and growing majority now supporting full adult use, the momentum for expanding state legalization and for federal prohibition reform will only grow in the years to come, including amid such key political battleground states as Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
  1. Usage on the Rise: Cannabis use is rising along with its popularity. Roughly 9% of Americans aged 18+ report having used cannabis in the past month, and 14% report having done so in the last year. The ranks of such has grown by 7.4 million since 2009, topping 22 million in 2016.
  2. The Opioids Epidemic: More than 115 Americans die from opioid overdoses daily, more than those killed in car accidents, breast cancer, or guns. Two recent studies published in the journalJAMA Internal Medicine compared states with and without medical cannabis programs, and found that states allowing cannabis for medical purposes had 2.21 million fewer daily doses of opioids prescribed each year under Medicare Part D than those states without cannabis treatments. Likewise, the studies found that opioid prescriptions under Medicaid also dropped by 5.88% in states with medical cannabis laws compared against states without them.
  3. Shifting Social Norms: The American Legion is lobbying on behalf of more than 20 million veterans interested in making cannabis potentially available as a federally legal treatment; among veterans and their caregivers, 92 percent support research into medical cannabis, and 1 in 5 veterans report using cannabis to treat their own medical or physical conditions.As of last week, it was reported that Capitol Hill was volleying more than 40 cannabis-related bills within the House of Representatives, with countless others in play in the Senate.

J.J. McCoy, New Frontier Data Senior Managing Editor

J.J. McCoy

J.J. McCoy is Senior Managing Editor for New Frontier Data. A former staff writer for The Washington Post, he is a career journalist having covered emerging technologies among industries including aviation, satellites, transportation, law enforcement, the Smart Grid and professional sports. He has reported from the White House, the U.S. Senate, three continents and counting.