2020 is one for the books. The Covid-19 pandemic has changed how we live and work. Many families and businesses have suffered hardship. However, in the cannabis Industry, 2020 has been one to remember, a sign of improvement and a catalyst for a better future.
Cannabis Was Named An “Essential Business”
Possibly the most momentous occurrences in 2020 were having adult-use, and medical use cannabis businesses deemed essential. The global pandemic uprooted the entire world and many U.S. businesses.
As an essential business, the cannabis industry-supported people in need through a particularly sensitive time for mental and physical health. This decision has undoubtedly played a significant role in reducing stigma.
Cannabis Spending and Tax Revenue is Up
As restaurants were required to limit capacity this year, and movies theaters sat empty, consumers spent their money on cannabis to legally enjoy at home. Colorado, Nevada and, Massachusetts, three significant marijuana markets, all report a significant increase in cannabis spending in 2020. Overall, the U.S. market boasts $15 billion in 2020, a 40% growth from 2019. 2021 shows promise for continued growth. As sales and tax revenue increase, normalization gets nearer.
A Great Opportunity for Cannabis Industry, Five New Cannabis Markets were Approved
Dozens of policy reform bills were introduced in state legislatures across the U.S. However, the coronavirus derailed many of those too.
Even with the coronavirus disruption, many states introduced bills to adopt new laws, including legalizing marijuana, affirming medical marijuana regulations, or substituting jail time for marijuana possession with fines.
In November 2020, voters approved every cannabis-related ballot measure on the ballot. In New Jersey, Montana, Arizona, and South Dakota, vote legalized cannabis for adults 21+. Meanwhile, Mississippi and South Dakota voters legalized medical cannabis. South Dakota, therefore, became the first state to legalize both adult-use cannabis and medical cannabis simultaneously.
Cannabis Job Market Increased
And with new markets, it creates more jobs in the cannabis job market.
The Marijuana Business Factbook predicted that the U.S. cannabis industry would have upwards of 243,700 jobs by the end of the year, an expected 50% increase over 2019 employment numbers. With the five new markets opening, the employment rates are not going to slow down anytime soon.
Bill to Decriminalize Cannabis at Federal Level Passed
In 2020, the House of Representatives approved legislation to decriminalize cannabis. This significant win for the US market is just the first step, as it will now need to pass through the Senate. Regardless, this is a step in the right direction towards federal cannabis decriminalization.
As momentum shifts, we begin to see small steps towards cannabis restorative justice. One powerful story this year revolved around Richard DeLisi. This 40-year-old Florida native is the longest-serving non-violent cannabis prisoner in the U.S. In 1989 DeLisi was sentenced to 90-years in prison for cannabis trafficking. After 31 years, DeLisi was released this December. Signs point to 2021 having more stories of justice like DeLisis.
2021 Cannabis Industry
A year ago, any 2019 year-in-review post about the cannabis industry could never have predicted what 2020 would bring. As we hope for a calmer and healthier 2021, We can all agree that we welcome continued success and energy for the adult-use and medicinal cannabis industry.