In the year 2021, legal weed in North America is slated to hit $22.6 billion in revenue. But pot smokers will not be spending their money on marijuana the way they do today. According to a comprehensive new report from the Arcview Market Research, “recreational” cannabis spending will supercede medical marijuana sales for the very first time in 2019.
What does this mean for consumption?
New users are likely to flood the recreational market in the next few years, with some switching over from medical marijuana programs in their respective states. California and Canada, which could legalize marijuana as early as July 1, 2018, are projected to drive major growth because of their population sizes. Although a majority of Americans live in states with access to cannabis for medical use, the recreational age is upon us, changing the way everyone consumes marijuana for the first time ever.
Tom Adams, the editor and chief of Arcview Market Research, says that the lives of medical marijuana patients “have not changed much.” “They go into the same stores — or even nicer or bigger stores, now that there are a lot more of them — and they just shop at the medical cash register,” Adams says.
Note: (Dispensaries often times have a counter for recreational sales and a counter for medical sales, or the retail shops specialize in one market. Washington folded its medical market in 2015.)
The only difference and area of debate that remains is taxation.
According to Adams, people who buy marijuana for recreational use in Colorado can expect to pay between %15 and %20 more than medical patients. This is due to the 2.9% state sales tax (plus local taxes) on both varieties of marijuana, but it waives the 10% state marijuana tax for patients. Although many dispensaries are offering steep discounts for medical buyers, when California rolls out its recreational market in 2018, the state will impose a %15 tax sales of the drug for recreational users.
Well it kind of sucks to be honest. It’s a game of semantics if you look more closely.
For example, in New Jersey, patients may qualify if they suffer from a deliberating or life-threatening disease, such as cancer, epilepsy, or multiple sclerosis. Meanwhile, Californians can get a recommendation via an app. By comparison, it seems as though the recreational market seems much more lax. Take for example Colorado, where there are more dispensaries than Starbucks and McDonald’s combined. Both residents and tourists alike can buy up to one ounce of cannabis with a valid ID that shows they’re over 21. The same is true in Washington and both states topped $1 billion in legal cannabis sales in 2016. So why impose strict legalities for those who are applying for medical?
According to our friend, Adams, the “recreational market will overtake medical in revenue in 2019. The gap will continue to widen as (presumably) more recreational markets come online.There’s huge growth in the user base when you stop requiring people to get medical recommendations … when you have stores selling edibles and concentrates, and not just the dealer around the corner selling bags of weed,” Adams says.
Well I guess we will just have to wait for the verdict. But let’s pray that we end the debate and allow everyone-recreational and medical users consume the same way.