Surging demand for cannabis in Canada, California, and Massachusetts drove a 45.7% increase in global sales during 2019, according to researchers at Arcview and BDS Analytics.

They crunched the numbers and calculated that legal marijuana sales reached $14.9 billion last year. Recreational sales in Canada, California, and Massachusetts were credited with driving the strong upswing, while flourishing medical sales in Florida and Oklahoma also took some of the credit.

Arcview Group founder Troy Dayton hailed a robust performance in spite of challenges caused by overregulation and overtaxing in the two biggest markets – California and Canada. “That is a true testament to just how popular cannabis is among consumers and the ongoing impact of new markets coming online and maturing,” said Dayton.

He added that the possibilities for future growth are “boundless” as political progress is made and regulatory improvements take place around the world. The analysts at Arcview and BDS Analytics now estimate that the global market will be worth $42.7 billion by 2024.

States and countries that want to boost the size of their medical cannabis sectors should glean inspiration from the approach taken in Florida and Oklahoma, according to BDS Analystics managing director Tom Adams.

He said the former has benefited by loosening product restrictions and adopting a more free-market approach, while the latter has flourished as a result of a light regulatory touch and low tax rates. That is important for any jurisdiction that wants to make legal sales competitive with the black market, thus safeguarding consumer health and ensuring a long-term, healthy stream of tax revenue.

The report said that sales reached $12.2 billion in the U.S., which accounted for the lion’s share of worldwide legal sales. It said sales in the rest of the world were worth just $840 million, although that is an increase of more than 200% from $367 million the previous year.

Germany and Mexico were the primary drivers of that growth. The researchers expect to see Canada’s cannabis sector galvanized by the legalization of edibles, vapes, and other concentrates, dubbed Cannabis 2.0, while they also noted that Ontario’s decision to permit more pot stores to open would give the market a shot in the arm.

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