BDSA: Legal US Cannabis Sales Surpassed $17.5 Billion in 2020


Legal U.S. cannabis sales grew 46% in 2020, according to a new report.

Colorado-based cannabis research firm BDSA announced Tuesday that U.S. marijuana sales eclipsed $17.5 billion, up from $12.1 billion in 2019.

Worldwide, cannabis sales grew 48%, to nearly $21.3 billion.

A large chunk of the increased sales in the U.S. came from established adult-use markets like California and Colorado, which combined for more than $1 billion worth of growth.

Colorado cannabis sales grew 26% in 2020, to more than $2.1 billion. Adult-use cannabis comprised $1.7 billion of those sales, up from $1.4 billion in 2019, state records show.

Meanwhile, in Illinois, where adult-use sales began last January, dispensaries grew their overall sales by $784 million, BDSA reports.

Illinois state records show that adult-use sales reached $669 million in 2020, while medical marijuana sales eclipsed $365 million.

Other growing markets include Oregon, where recreational cannabis sales increased 39% to more than $1.1 billion.

Meanwhile, medical marijuana sales in Florida and Oklahoma grew by $473 million and $400 million respectively in 2020, BDSA said.

The firm projects that global cannabis sales will reach $55.9 billion by 2026. The U.S. is expected to make up nearly three-quarters of worldwide cannabis sales by 2026, with sales projected to reach $41.3 billion.

However, much of that growth hinges on additional states legalizing cannabis and initiating adult-use sales.

Currently, 15 U.S. states have approved adult-use sales, and 36 have medical cannabis programs.

Most recently, Virginia lawmakers passed a bill to legalize, regulate and tax recreational cannabis. If Gov. Ralph Northam signs the legislation, Virginia would become the 16th state to approve adult-use cannabis.

Senate Democrats are also pushing for federal reform, and broader federal legalization could be on the horizon.

According to a recent Gallup poll, nearly 70% of Americans are in favor of legalizing cannabis. Meanwhile, one-third of U.S. adults now reside in states that permit the sale of adult-use cannabis, a number that is poised to grow in the coming years.

According to Marijuana Moment, 25 states are currently considering bills to legalize cannabis in some form. That includes markets like Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, New York and Pennsylvania, which are considering adult-use proposals.

BDSA predicts that more than 3 million new consumers will purchase legal cannabis in the U.S. this year, a figure that will grow substantially in the coming years as more legal states come online.

If BDSA is correct, and U.S. cannabis sales reach $41.3 billion by 2026, the sector will rival the American craft beer market.

According to the Brewers Association, small and independent U.S. producers that are not owned by larger players like Anheuser-Busch InBev sold about $29 billion worth of craft beer in 2019. However, when you factor in sales of nonindependent craft brands, that figure approaches $40 billion.

By comparison, the total U.S. beer market is valued at about $120 billion.

Additional stats on the cannabis industry are available in this news release below.

BDSA Reports Global Cannabis Sales Exceeded $21 Billion in 2020; Forecasts $55.9 Billion by 2026

BOULDER, Colo., March 02, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- BDSA announced today the release of its 2020 cannabis sales data and forecast future sales by region. Global cannabis sales reached nearly $21.3 billion in 2020, an increase of 48% over 2019 sales of $14.4 billion. BDSA forecasts global cannabis sales will grow from $21.3 billion in 2020 to $55.9 billion in 2026, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 17%.

“The cannabis industry faced numerous challenges in the past few years, none so potentially disruptive as the coronavirus pandemic in 2020,” said Micah Tapman, Chief Executive Officer, BDSA. “Our previous forecast was conservative based on the expected economic fallout from the pandemic, but the industry not only survived, it thrived and legal cannabis gained considerable ground, exceeding our expectations in several markets.”

Many mature markets in the United States saw accelerated growth in 2020 – Colorado grew by 26%, double its 13% rise in 2019, and Oregon expanded by 39%, versus 21% in 2019. Canada, the largest national market, grew by 61% in 2020 to more than $2.6 billion, boosted by the late-2019 introduction of a host of new product options under the government’s new “Cannabis 2.0” rules, which authorized sales of derivative products such as edibles.

Even so, new markets are key to future growth. Medical and adult-use markets that launched in 2019 and 2020 contributed $1.6 billion in spending in 2020, $422 million in medical and nearly $1.2 billion in adult-use. Five new U.S. markets legalized medical or adult-use cannabis during the 2020 elections: Arizona, Mississippi, New Jersey, Montana and South Dakota. BDSA expects four new medical and five new adult-use markets to commence sales in 2021.

These data reflect legal cannabis market forecasts. CBD market forecasts are also available for sale from BDSA and include CBD-dominant products (derived from marijuana or hemp) sold in dispensaries, pharmaceuticals, and CBD products in general retail (derived from hemp).

United States

Legal cannabis sales in the U.S. passed $17.5 billion in 2020, growth of 46% over 2019’s $12.1 billion. BDSA forecasts U.S. sales to reach $41.3 billion in 2026, a CAGR of 15%. Illinois, which launched adult-use last year, saw the largest dollar gain in 2020, rising by $784 million. Several other markets saw major expansion, the top four being California (+$586 million), Florida (+$473 million), Colorado (+$451 million) and Oklahoma (+$400 million).


Legal cannabis sales in Canada totaled an estimated $2.6 billion in 2020 and are forecast to grow to nearly $6.4 billion in 2026, a CAGR of 16%. Canada began legal adult-use sales in late 2018 and allowed dramatically expanded product offerings in both the medical and adult-use markets. During the year, BDSA Retail Sales Tracking data in Alberta and British Columbia showed rapid growth in shares of new Cannabis 2.0 product categories.

International Markets

Sales of legal cannabis products, including cannabis-derived pharmaceuticals, outside the U.S. and Canada broke the $1 billion mark in 2020, with nearly $1.1 billion in spending. BDSA forecasts international sales will exceed $8.3 billion in 2026, a CAGR of 40%. The bulk of that new legal spending will be driven by Mexico (104% CAGR) and Germany (36% CAGR), though the U.K. (57% CAGR) and France will contribute significantly (186% CAGR). Mexico is expected to account for almost 32% of legal cannabis spending beyond the U.S. and Canada in 2026.

About BDSA

Headquartered in Boulder, Colo., BDSA (formerly BDS Analytics) helps businesses improve revenues, reduce innovation risk and prioritize market expansion. The company provides a holistic understanding of the global cannabinoid market by generating comprehensive, accurate and actionable insights across point-of-sale data, consumer research and forecast models, available through the award-winning GreenEdge® data platform. To learn more about how you can utilize BDSA’s market research and insights, please visit

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