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9 Things Investors Should Know About the Cannabis Industry in 2021

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9 Things Cannabis Investors Should Know in 2021

Unlike dozens of other industries across the globe, cannabis experienced significant growth as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In fact, with consumption for both medical and recreational products on the rise, 2020 was a record-breaking year for the industry. After years of investor uncertainty, analysts are predicting a continued bull market in 2021, with several new and exciting developments on the horizon.

Here are nine things cannabis investors need to know.

1. Cannabis Stocks on the Rise

While asset prices took a dip during the initial stage of the COVID-19 outbreak in March, the cannabis sector recovered swiftly after reporting impressive numbers.

Even though cannabis investors have experienced some ups and downs in the last several years, 2021 looks more hopeful.

2. COVID-19 and Cannabis

Cannabis has become an attractive option for people spending more time at home, both as a means of entertainment, and to reduce stress and anxiety associated with the pandemic.

As a result, cannabis sales are soaring. In Canada, monthly sales reached an all-time high of $270 million (CAD) in October 2020, a dramatic increase from $180 million just six months earlier.

3. Cannabis Black Market No More?

For millions of U.S. citizens who live in states where the sale of cannabis is still restricted, the illicit market continues to be their only option.

But with loosening restrictions and legal cannabis becoming more widely available, legal sales are predicted to reach $50 billion by 2026 while illegal sales will plummet to less than $1 billion by the same year.

YearU.S. Legal Cannabis SalesU.S. Illegal Cannabis Sales
2016$6 billion$25 billion
2026$50 billion<$1 billion

4. Political Change Driving Market Growth

Almost 70% of Americans now support the full legalization of cannabis—the highest figure ever recorded.

States where cannabis is legal are now paving the way for cannabis sales, with California expected to pull in over $6 billion by 2021 alone. If federal legalization comes to fruition over the next several years, the already booming U.S. market could see further growth.

5. All Eyes on the European Cannabis Market

The European cannabis market has been on investors’ radar for several years, and with good reason—it is one of the largest cannabis markets in the world.

Driven primarily by medicinal products, the market will be valued at over $39 billion by 2024, with countries like Germany—Europe’s largest economy—leading the way.

In late 2020, the market experienced its biggest breakthrough yet, with the European Union ruling that products containing CBD (one of the most active ingredients in cannabis) are no longer listed as narcotics.

6. Making History in Mexico

Mexico is another market that is piquing the interest of investors and cannabis companies the world over. That’s because it could soon be the third country in the world to legalize recreational cannabis by court order.

With a total addressable market of $2 billion and the potential to support up to 75,000 jobs, these new regulations could change the dynamic of the global market for the better.

7. Most Popular Cannabis Products

Given the flurry of product innovation in the market, consumption of cannabis is quickly changing.

Relatively new products such as edibles and oils are gaining traction, while consumption of flower appears to be declining. This could be due in part to oral products being perceived as a healthier alternative to smoking.

8. CBD Products are Moving into the Mainstream

Although CBD was once considered a niche product that could only be found in dispensaries, growing awareness of the benefits and safety of these products are causing companies operating in the consumer packaged goods industry to take notice.

The cannabis compound is a new addition to a wide range of products such as skincare, makeup, and supplements that can now be purchased almost anywhere—from ecommerce sites to local grocery stores.

9. The New Cannabinoids on the Block

Beyond CBD, scientists have discovered over 100 rare, or minor cannabinoids such as CBG and CBN, that could have even more significant benefits than their major cannabinoid counterparts.

For example, preliminary research shows that CBG could inhibit cancer growth, help treat glaucoma, bladder dysfunction, and kill drug-resistant bacteria.

These discoveries are not only attracting huge attention from the cannabis industry, but from the pharmaceutical industry as well.

Milestones in the Making

With all of these exciting developments coming to the fore, it’s safe to say 2021 could be one of the cannabis industry’s most transformative years to date.

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United States

Mapped: Countries Where Recreational Cannabis is Legal

In total, only nine countries have fully legalized recreational cannabis use.

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This map shows the countries where recreational cannabis use is allowed as of April 2024.

Countries Where Recreational Cannabis is Legal

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

In 2024, Germany became the third European Union country to legalize cannabis for personal use, following Malta and Luxembourg.

Here, we map the countries where recreational cannabis use is allowed as of April 2024, based on data from Wikipedia.

Limited to Few Countries

In total, only nine countries have legalized recreational cannabis use nationwide. However, just a few of them have licensed sales.

CountryEffective dateLicensed sales since
🇺🇾 UruguayDecember 2013July 2017
🇬🇪 Georgia30 July 2018Never authorized
🇿🇦 South Africa18 September 2018Never authorized
🇨🇦 Canada17 October 201817 October 2018
🇲🇽 Mexico28 June 2021Never authorized
🇲🇹 Malta14 December 2021Never authorized
🇹🇭 Thailand9 June 20229 June 2022
🇱🇺 Luxembourg21 July 2023Never authorized
🇩🇪 Germany1 April 2024Never authorized
🇺🇸 U.S.Varies by stateVaries by state
🇦🇺 AustraliaVaries by jurisdictionNever authorized

At the federal level, cannabis is still considered an illegal substance in the United States. That said, individual states do have the right to determine their laws around cannabis sales and usage. Currently, cannabis is allowed in 24 states, 3 territories, and the District of Columbia.

Interestingly, the oldest legal text concerning cannabis dates back to the 1600s—when the colony of Virginia required every farm to grow and produce hemp.

Since then, cannabis use was fairly widespread until the 1930s when the Marihuana Tax Act was enforced, prohibiting marijuana federally but still technically allowing for medical use.

Today, the U.S. cannabis market is a $30 billion business. By the end of the decade, that number is expected to be anywhere from $58 billion to as much as $72 billion.

Similar to the U.S., Australia does not allow the use at the national level, but cannabis can be used legally in the Australian Capital Territory, which includes the capital Canberra.

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