Researchers at Arcview Market Research have crunched the numbers and they say that the global cannabis industry was worth $12.2 billion in 2018.

That is slightly short of the $12.9 billion that it forecast back in June and it blamed delays in rolling out the launch of Canada’s recreational marijuana program, plus an expensive tax and regulatory structure in California. But it still represents a strong gain of 28% on the $9.5 billion the industry achieved in 2017.

The industry is forecast to hit $16.9 billion in 2019, rising to $31.3 billion in 2022 at a 26.7% compound annual growth rate over the five-year frame from 2017.

Arcview, a cannabis industry investment and research company, takes point-of-sale data and consumer insights as it bids to map out the scale of the global cannabis trade. It forecasts that the industry will hit $16.9 billion in 2019, rising to $31.3 billion in 2022 at a 26.7% compound annual growth rate over the five-year frame from 2017.

The two largest regulated medicinal cannabis markets in the world are California and Canada, but others are catching up and several countries are making ambitious moves as they bid to carve out a slice of this lucrative trade.

Turkey is preparing to return to widespread cannabis cultivation across the country and it hopes to rake in $100 billion over the next 10 years. Thailand is another huge historic producer of marijuana crops and it is on the brink of rolling out a regulated industry.

South Korea is also getting involved, while further south Australia is bidding to position itself as a global leader and New Zealand hopes to follow suit. There are massive projects underway across Europe, particularly in Portugal, Denmark, and Italy, and many are helmed by ambitious North American companies.

They are also carving up Latin America in rampant fashion, buoyed by the favourable growing conditions and affordable labour costs that it offers.

Yet another threat to North American dominance of the global industry could come from Israel, a pioneer in the medicinal cannabis trade. It has now approved the export of cannabis in a bid to bring in $265 million a year, and it has the expertise, the technology and the ambition to thrive on the world stage, while it is also expanding into Europe.