In the fast-paced, constantly evolving, never-stop-to-rest cannabis industry, there’s a palpable sense that things are growing — but sometimes it can be hard to tell exactly how or in what way. In those moments, it can be helpful to pause, take a breath, and review the data.
Whether you’re planning for the future of your cannabis business or trying to better understand your target customers, data can be a helpful tool but also a tricky thing to parse. To help you, Cannabis World Congress and Business Expo (CWCBExpo) has curated this list of important cannabis statistics, trends, and projections you should be aware of as you grow your cannabis business in 2024. The data below was sourced from Equio, New Frontier Data’s cannabis industry database, unless otherwise noted.
1. Consumers still choose flower most, but product types are diversifying
In the U.S., smokeable flower remains the most popular, with around 78 percent of consumers saying they partake in that product type. Edibles are a relatively close second, with 57 percent of consumers opting to eat or drink their cannabis products. Just shy of one-third of cannabis consumers buy disposable vaporizers or vape carts, making this product category a distant third in terms of popularity. Topicals and tinctures appeal to 26 percent of consumers, while extracts and concentrates are chosen by 22 percent.
How do these preferences translate to sales? In December 2023, flower made up 43.56 percent of all cannabis product sales in the U.S., making it the clear leader by a wide margin. Vape products drove the second most sales at 28.3 percent; although only 32 percent of consumers choose vape products, they buy a lot of them quite often. Edibles drove only 12.36 percent of sales despite their popularity among most consumers.
In terms of money, the average value per transaction is highest when consumers choose flower at $82.31 per transaction. Vape products are a close second at $73.66, and tinctures are neck and neck at $73.52. Extracts follow behind at $69.58, with edibles at $58.36 and topicals at $51.95 per transaction. Pre-rolls generate the smallest average transaction value at $38.04, but they make great impulse purchases to help boost a shopper’s cart size.
2. The American cannabis consumer population is on the rise
As cannabis normalizes and new product types like beverages feel easier for some consumers to embrace, the population of cannabis consumers is growing. An estimated 54 million people in the U.S. identify as cannabis consumers, which is more than 16 percent of the national population. In New York alone, the total addressable market (TAM) consists of more than 3.3 million people, meaning there is a ton of opportunity for cannabis entrepreneurs in the Empire State. In fact, New York joins major markets like California in terms of potential for cannabis businesses.
3. More American adults will have access to legal cannabis than ever before
Thanks to the success legal cannabis has had at the ballot box, there are now 38 states plus Washington D.C. with legal medical cannabis programs of some sort. Out of those states, 18 of them along with the nation’s capital have legalized cannabis for adult use. That means 44 percent of American adults now have access to cannabis for any purpose, while 71 percent have access to medical cannabis. In 2024, these numbers are poised to increase, with states like Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Hawaii, and Florida considering adult-use legalization.
4. More than 7,000 dispensaries are operational in the U.S.
While the majority of these dispensaries are clustered in the west, the number of shops operating on the east coast is growing as the region’s legal cannabis industry catches up with the nation’s pioneering states. In New York, for example, the number of adult use dispensaries is now steadily climbing, surpassing 50 in early 2024 following the lifting of an injunction that suspended the Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) license program and the state opened its doors to large multistate operators (MSOs).
5. Friday is the most lucrative day for U.S. cannabis dispensaries
Cannabis consumers shop the most on Fridays, during which cannabis retailers generate nearly one-fifth of their weekly revenue as shoppers look to stock up for the weekend. The next busiest day is Thursday, when 15.24% of dispensary revenue is realized, closely followed by Saturday at 15.21%. Sunday is the quietest day of the week, but it still accounts for more than 10 percent of dispensaries’ weekly revenue.
6. The regulated market won’t surpass the unlicensed market — yet
The total legal cannabis market in the U.S. is projected to reach $35.16 billion in 2024, with the adult use market contributing $22.4 billion and the medical market $12.72 billion. The legacy market will remain on top this year by a significant sum at $70.9 billion. That means roughly half of the country’s cannabis market remains unregulated, though that share is projected to fall every year. At the current pace, the regulated market would surpass the legacy market in 2029.
7. The cannabis industry is expected to grow 12.84% through 2029
The legal cannabis industry’s compound annual growth rate (CAGR), a measure of how quickly an industry expands over a certain period of time, is projected to be 12.84% from 2024 to 2029. If those projections are accurate, the total legal market will grow to $62.72 billion in 2029. The adult use market would make up $50.29 billion of that value, with medical cannabis driving the remaining $12.43 billion. Projections suggest the legacy market would still represent a total $56.33 billion in 2029.
8. Global legalization will continue to expand
The world is becoming more cannabis-friendly each year, and that won’t stop in 2024. Currently, there are eight countries that have legalized adult use cannabis and established a framework for adult use sales to begin. Notably, the U.S. is represented as one such country in the graphic below due to a majority of its states supporting adult use sales, even though cannabis remains federally illegal.
Aside from these countries, five others have legalized adult use cannabis without establishing a framework for sales to begin. An additional 17 countries have established a medical cannabis program, while 41 more have some form of cannabis legalization in limited circumstances. Access is expected to expand as countries that have legalized set up regulatory frameworks for sales to begin and additional countries consider legalization measures, including Thailand, Colombia, and Switzerland.
The future continues to burn bright for cannabis
In cannabis, we’re all used to challenges. However, we persevere because we believe in this industry and this plant, and the data shows that our belief is not misplaced. The trend toward a successful, thriving, global cannabis industry has never been clearer.
As each of us navigate 2024 and beyond, it’s important to band together, and there’s no better chance to do so than attending the CWCBExpo. Join us June 5 – 6 at the Javits Convention Center in New York City to connect with some of the best and brightest in the world of cannabis and start building the future of the industry together.
Register for CWCBExpo to reserve your spot today!