There’s a “lot to be excited about” in the U.S. marijuana industry, said BDSA co-founder and COO Liz Stahura at cannabis business conference MJ Unpacked in New York City this week.
Stahura sought to reassure industry insiders that better times are on the way following 2022’s harsh atmosphere for many marijuana operators, which featured stagnating sales, declining cannabis wholesale prices, and a lack of progress on federal reform.
“The roller coaster does not seem to be slowing down any time soon,” Stahura said, and noted that 2022 held “significantly less growth than we’ve seen in the past” for the U.S. cannabis sector.
Overall there was a 13% decline last year among the mature U.S. state markets that Colorado-based BDSA tracks, but Stahura said that was offset by higher performances in emerging markets such as Missouri and Illinois.
This year, BDSA projects a 14% total sales increase nationally, Stahura said.
“It’s definitely not all doom and gloom. There’s a lot to be excited about in the cannabis industry,” she said. “We do expect to see some modest declines in some of the mature markets, but a combination of return to growth in many new markets as well as established markets, as well as new markets coming online.”
Stahura said that BDSA is projecting that the U.S. marijuana market will grow to nearly $45 billion by 2027 – up from roughly $26 billion last year – and add another eight state markets.
At the same time, the consumer base for marijuana continues to grow, Stahura said, noting that the percentage of cannabis consumers who use marijuana daily has grown to 71%, up from the “low 60’s just a few years ago.”
“While we will still see in 2023 some light contraction, most likely in the mature markets before we turn to growth in 2024, there are still plenty of bright spots, regardless of market type,” Stahura said. “Within those mature markets, we are seeing a lot to be excited about.”
She predicted a “leveling out” of widespread price declines, but that there will also continue to be major competition from the underground market for the foreseeable future.
Overall, Stahura projected bullishness for the future of the U.S. marijuana sector.
“We are at that inflection point where industry growth is tracing primarily to emerging markets, but the opportunities … do exist across the board,” Stahura said.