Whatever else that people might think or say about the nearly half-century international War on Drugs, by nearly any measure the results regarding cannabis have clearly fallen short of publicized policy intentions. Despite nearly universal prohibition, adults worldwide routinely choose to consume cannabis, a reality which underscores that to whatever extent that prohibition has served to constrain the extent of cannabis’ use, it has done little to deter a significant proportion of adults from regularly consuming it.
New Frontier Data’s latest analysis, released in the Global Cannabis Report: 2019 Industry Outlook reveals a global cannabis consumer market worth $344 billion worldwide, the top five regional markets include Asia (at $132.9 billion), North America ($85.6 billion), Europe ($68.5 billion), Africa ($37.3 billion) and Latin America ($9.8 billion). Correspondingly, New Frontier Data estimates there to be 263 million cannabis consumers participating in the worldwide market.
Suffice to say, the worldwide demand is massive, and understanding its vagaries and scale is critical to developing appropriate regulations which reflect the reality of this large prevailing consumer market. Given that younger adults demographically support legalization at far higher rates than older adults, the expansion of legalization and normalization of social attitudes toward cannabis points toward a durable generational trend.
The breadth and potential for the global total addressable cannabis market (regulated and illicit) is comprehensively researched and shared in New Frontier Data’s new report, the Global Cannabis Report: 2019 Industry Outlook.
The report offers the first extensive analysis on global and regional demand, usage rates, pricing, patient reach and even ongoing cannabis cannibalization of alcohol.
Meanwhile, there are an estimated 1.2 billion people worldwide suffering from medical conditions for which cannabis has shown therapeutic value. Adoption of medical cannabis treatment by even a small proportion of that population would create a massive market.
Where advocates and legislatures have led, courts have now followed. Most markets having reformed their cannabis laws have done so through ballot measures or legislative process. However, three countries – Georgia, Mexico, and South Africa – have each legalized personal use through the courts.
Meanwhile, as relatively rapid acceptance of medical cannabis has been energized by feedback from patients, clinical research about medical efficacy has been validated by leading health organizations (e.g., WHO, National Academies of Science) which are stimulating further interest in and adoption of medical cannabis and lowering support for blanket prohibition.
According to New Frontier Data’s research, 94% of medical cannabis patients reported that cannabis treatment improved their condition, with 66% reporting significant improvement. Strong affirmation that cannabis has improved the quality of patients’ lives will play an important role in further galvanizing support for its legalization.
Beyond the existing consumer market, the new applications for cannabis are attracting a new wave of interest from other sectors. With thousands of known uses, cannabis is sometimes described as the most versatile plant in the agricultural economy. From human and animal nutrition to textiles, building materials, and bioplastics the potential industrial applications are diverse and compelling relative to existing options. The coming years will see a sprouting of new cannabis-based sectors as stakeholders globally gain their access to and innovate new applications for the plant.
“More than 50 countries around the world have legalized some form of cannabis, while six countries have legalized cannabis for adult use (some may refer to it as recreational use),” said New Frontier Data Founder and CEO Giadha Aguirre de Carcer. “The legal cannabis industry has truly gone global; even in the face of extensive prohibition, cannabis consumption grows, and attitudes and challenging perceptions about the typical cannabis user continue to shift. This social and cultural evolution has created a global market with massive potential for stakeholders across dozens of sectors beyond traditional plant-touching verticals.”
Image sourced from Pixabay
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