Between new regulations, deals, and technological developments, 2018 was biggest year yet in the history of the cannabis industry. And if the predictions are right, 2019 will be even bigger.
At Benzinga’s Cannabis Capital Conference in Miami, New Frontier Data CEO Giadha Aguirre De Carcer outlined how, exactly, the industry is expected to expand in the coming years. New Frontier Data is a global data provider that reports on federal laws, local laws, customers, operators, and ancillary services to offer a holistic view of the industry.
Here are four stats from Aguierre De Carcer’s keynote address that show just how big cannabis is becoming around the world.
1) The U.S. and Canada are expected to generate combined $172 billion in retail sales over the next six years
This figure is according to New Frontier Data’s estimates, and does not account for pharmaceutical sales. From a pure retail perspective, the U.S. is expected to account for $136 billion of sales between 2018-2025, while New Frontier Data estimates Canada will account for the remaining $36 billion.
2) North America is only the fourth largest cannabis consumer market
You wouldn’t think it, but it’s true. Despite federal legalization in Canada and growing statewide legalization in the U.S., North America still ranks behind Asia, Africa, and Europe in terms of the size of its cannabis consumer market.
“These are regions we don’t necessarily think of as large consuming regions, and yet here they are,” Aguierre De Carcer said. “While we have a huge market in North America, from a consumption perspective, we’re only fourth.”
3) There was $6 billion in deal value from 2015-2018
According to Aguierre De Carcer, there were over 1,000 cannabis-related deals globally from 2015-2018 totaling $6 billion, a stunning number considering recreational and medical cannabis was only federally legal in one country (Uruguay) for most of that period.
Much of that value came from investments by alcohol maker Constellation Brands, Inc (NYSE: STZ) into Canopy Growth Corp (NYSE: CGC) and tobacco company Altria Group Inc (NYSE: MO) in Cronos Group Inc (NASDAQ: CRON) in late-2018. She noted that those two deals by themselves doubled that total deal amount.
“The expectations are we’re going to see more of that from pharmaceuticals around the world,” she added.
4) China’s Heilongjian Province cultivates about 90 percent of hemp used for textiles around the world
China has been producing hemp for thousands of years, so it’s relatively unsurprising that it would be the epicenter of hemp cultivation. There are only two provinces in China that cultivate hemp, but the Heilongjian Province in northwest China is responsible for the vast majority of global hemp.
“They do have a little bit of experience with hemp, and they’re certainly trying to explore what else they can do beyond textiles with hemp,” Aguirre De Carcer said. She obvious next step, she said, is CBD. Despite a bit of a learning curve, she believes China is well-positioned to enter the CBD market in a big way.
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