The cannabis industry is composed of legal cultivators and producers, consumers, independent industrial standards bodies, ancillary products and services, regulators and researchers concerning cannabis and its industrial derivative, hemp. The cannabis industry has been inhibited by regulatory restrictions for most of recent history, but the legal market has emerged rapidly as more governments legalize medical and adult use.[citation needed] Uruguay became the first country to legalize recreational marijuana through legislation in December, 2013.[1] Canada became the first country to legalize private sales of recreational marijuana with Bill C-45 in 2018.[citation needed]

Market value

The world economic market has been broken down as follows, showing that the cannabis industry can be considered a multibillion-dollar component of a larger pharmaceutical industry. The exact value of cannabis sales worldwide remains unknown as the vast majority of the market remains illicit. With movement around legalisation of Cannabis, it is attracting more investments from alcohol and drug companies.[2]

Market Order-of-magnitude value
Drug Non-medical drug ("recreational") hundreds of billions
Medical leaf and flower tens of billions
Refined pharmaceuticals Billions
Hemp food-fiber Oilseed hundreds of millions
Fiber tens of millions
Biomass hundreds of thousands
Other Phytoremediation tens of thousands
Ornamental Thousands
From Small (2016)[3]

United States

Marijuana (drug) sales in North America reached $6.7 billion in 2016, representing 30% growth year-over-year.[4] According to a report by university researcher Jon Gettman, cannabis is the United States' largest cash crop and "a pervasive and ineradicable part of the national economy".[5][6][7] A 2015 ArcView Group report stated that it was the fastest growing industry in the United States.[8] The industry in the United States is expected to grow from $2 billion in 2014 to as much as $10 billion in 2018, depending on legalization outcomes.[9] By one estimate the industry in the United States could be $35 billion in 2020.[10] The legal market is estimated to be more than $10 billion as of September 2020,[11] and a report by Morningstar predicts, "nearly 25% average annual growth for the U.S. recreational market and nearly 15% for the medical market through 2030."[12]

According to GQ magazine in mid-2017, it was the second largest cash crop in the U.S., after corn, and worth over $40 billion.[13]

The national (non-psychoactive) hemp market was $600 million in 2015,[14]: 3  Accurate predictions of potential future legal markets for hemp are deemed impossible to predict due to "the absence since the 1950s of any commercial and unrestricted hemp production in the

United States".[14]: 7 

In a Huffington Post interview, Mark Kleiman, the "Pot Czar" of Washington state, said he was concerned that the National Cannabis Industry Association would favor profits over public health. He also said that it could become a predatory body like the lobbying arms of the tobacco and alcohol industries. Kleiman said: "The fact that the National Cannabis Industry Association has hired itself a K Street suit [lobbyist] is not a good sign."[15]

United States financial institutions, CPAs, and lawyers struggle with conflicting advice from NASBA and Treasury over their risks to provide services to the legal cannabis industry.[citation needed] The contradiction between the federal Controlled Substances Act and local or state legalization is called "the single most defining characteristic of the [cannabis] industry".[16]


Cannabis in Uruguay was legalized for adult use in December 2013. Sales of marijuana are regulated through government distribution with a state-mandated price of $1.30 per gram.[17] Access to marijuana is legal through four sources: medical marijuana through the Ministry of Health, home-grown marijuana, membership clubs, and sales to adults in drugstores.[17]


Canada became the second country to legalize cannabis for adult use on October 17, 2018 Cannabis in Canada. As of December 2017, there were 79 licensed marijuana producers in Canada with most concentrated in Ontario and British Columbia. According Deloitte, the base retail market is valued at $4.9-$8.7 billion annually.[18] Including ancillary opportunities, Deloitte estimates a market worth $12.7-$22.6 billion annually, demonstrating an upside of more than $20 billion.[18]

Ancillary products and services

The cannabis industry is supported by a network of ancillary products and services that do not "touch the plant". The most common ancillary services are professional services followed by information services, banking services, and security.[19] Cultivation structures, installments, and equipment are the most common ancillary products followed by consumption devices, paraphernalia, packaging, processing equipment, software, security equipment, and laboratory supplies.[19] The addition of ancillary products and services amounts to an economic impact that is estimated at four times the value of direct sales of cannabis. Based on this multiplier, the total economic impact of the cannabis industry in the United States was $16-$18 billion in 2016 and is expected to reach $47.6-$68.4 billion by 2021.[19]

Related industries

Cannabis has entered the restaurant industry in certain legal markets.[20]

University involvement

Involvement from universities has increased as the industry gains legitimacy worldwide. Northern Michigan University initiated their Medicinal Plant Chemistry Program in 2017, the first undergraduate degree program preparing students for work related to the production, analysis, and distribution of medicinal plants.[21] Daniele Piomelli, a professor at University of California-Irvine, developed an interdisciplinary cannabis research program called the Institute for the Study of Cannabis with the mission to advance cannabis knowledge in academia.[22]

Green Wolverine, founded at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business in 2017, is a nonprofit corporation composed of university student organizations centered on acquiring knowledge related to legal business activities in the cannabis industry. The mission is to discover opportunities for success for university students in cannabis or related fields through education, networking, and recruiting.[23]

Hocking College (Nelsonville, OH) has an accredited Cannabis Lab Technician associate degree as part of their Lab Sciences Program. It was developed by Dr. Jonathan Cachat in 2018.[24]

Cannabis accessories

Selling accessories related to cannabis is not explicitly illegal in most countries, and such products has been gaining popularity for several decades. As legal cannabis continues to spread, accessory sales have been growing rapidly.[25][26]

Women in the industry

Most research, both governmental and privately funded, does not investigate women's roles and placement within the extremely lucrative and growing marijuana industry. Women have been historically blocked and subjugated to "feminine" work in the cannabis industry. There is often little to no mention of women among cannabis businesses in statistical reporting or business journals unless the focus is specifically on women or minorities. Since the first states in the U.S., Colorado and Washington, legalized marijuana in 2012, the industry has undergone extreme growth both in terms of wealth, and in terms of employment. In 2017 only 26.9% of women held executive positions in the industry.[27] Also in 2017, the legal adult cannabis industry in the United States was worth around $7.7 billion and annual sales were expected to grow more to more than $24 billion by 2025.[28] Slightly more current data by Forbes Magazine's 2019 survey of 166 cannabis businesses in 17 different states across the America finds that 38.5% of employees self-identified as female. While this number clearly rose since 2017, unfortunately the number of women who held "Director" or "Executive" roles in 2017 dropped to only 17.6%. Shockingly, 74% of companies surveyed have 10% or fewer female-identifying employees. More than 12% of the 166 companies had no females in "Director" or "Executive" positions while over 41% of them only had one woman in those categories.[29] In 2021, Leafly, trusted cannabis education and location website, released their yearly job report stating that the legal cannabis industry supports 321,000 jobs with more than 77,000 new jobs created since 2020.[30] While about 38% of women suffer from chronic diseases, only 4% of research and funds are used towards women's healthcare and services. This leaves women to seek out alternative therapies. Given that women make up around 85% of all consumers purchasing and 85% of healthcare decisions, “women are central to the currently semi-legal developing cannabis market.” As females are consuming cannabis at higher rates than ever before, there is huge purchasing power related to health and wellness decision.[28] The rapid growth of the industry presented by these number demonstrates it is essential to consider women in this industry as their purchasing power is the strongest when compared to other demographics.

Circling back to the earlier years of the industry (prior to wider legalization in the US around 2010), women were commonly pushed into more "feminine" work such as tending crops, trimming, clone work, and other more tedious tasks.[31] The separation of women into these types of female ascribed work, contributed to a long history of gender-based barriers faced by women in the cannabis industry both in access to employment, raises, and equal pay. These gender-based barriers are key to examining women's place and access to the industry in present day, which is often overlooked or goes unacknowledged. Understanding women's historic and current place within the cannabis industry is key for all those a part of the industry as well as those interested in joining the industry, to combat discrimination and prejudice in the rapidly growing market.

In more recent years of the industry (from 2010 to 2021), some have theorized women's role within the industry is changing and argue the industry has become female friendly. This claim is disputed among scholars as some find women to be less concerned about risk factors than in the early years of the industry. As the cannabis industry continues to grow, there is evidence of higher numbers of female owners and executives compared with other United States businesses as a whole. According to data analysis expert Giadha DeCarcer, "The cannabis industry is so new that there are very few barriers to get in, especially for women [entrepreneurs]".[32] It seems that women in the industry, in some ways, are starting to perform opposite to prior literature, displaying increased appeal for uncertainty and risk which is common among this industry.[28] While the new evidence within the industry demonstrates growing numbers of women and confidence against unpredictability, which some could infer as greater access, there are still many gender-based barrier present in the industry that block women from equal treatment and acquirement.

See also


  1. ^ "Uruguay President Mujica signs marijuana law". The Seattle Times. 2022-05-23. Archived from the original on 23 May 2022. Retrieved 2023-06-01.
  2. ^ Gurdus, Elizabeth (2018-09-18). "Investing in cannabis is 'a great hedge' for alcohol and drug companies, Tilray CEO says". CNBC. Archived from the original on 2018-09-30. Retrieved 2018-09-30.
  3. ^ Small 2016, table 15.1
  4. ^ "Research". Archived from the original on 2017-12-11. Retrieved 2017-12-10.
  5. ^ Nitya VENKATARAMAN (December 18, 2006), "Marijuana Called Top U.S. Cash Crop", ABC News, archived from the original on June 16, 2020, retrieved June 27, 2020
  6. ^ Marijuana Production in the United States (2006) by Jon Gettman – Executive Summary, Drug Science, 8 October 2018, archived from the original on 29 June 2017, retrieved 29 April 2017
  7. ^ Jon Gettman, "Marijuana Production in the United States" (2006) cited in Small 2016
  8. ^ Matt Ferner (January 26, 2015), "Legal Marijuana Is The Fastest-Growing Industry In The U.S.: Report", Huffington Post, archived from the original on April 17, 2017, retrieved April 29, 2017
  9. ^ Linton Weeks (May 8, 2014), 13 Spliffy Jobs In The Marijuana Industry, NPR, archived from the original on April 15, 2018, retrieved April 5, 2018
  10. ^ Christopher Ingraham (October 24, 2014), "The marijuana industry could be bigger than the NFL by 2020", The Washington Post, archived from the original on April 17, 2017, retrieved April 29, 2017
  11. ^ Inton, Kristoffer (September 18, 2020). "A Top Investing Trend for 2030". Archived from the original on 2020-10-20. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  12. ^ Inton, Kristoffer (October 20, 2020). "Possible Biden Win May Spur Cannabis Industry Growth". Archived from the original on 2020-10-31. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  13. ^ AMANDA CHICAGO LEWIS (August 23, 2017), "The Great Pot Monopoly Mystery", GQ, archived from the original on April 18, 2021, retrieved August 28, 2017
  14. ^ a b Renée Johnson (March 10, 2017), Hemp as an Agricultural Commodity (PDF), Congressional Research Service, CRS Report RL32725, archived (PDF) from the original on April 6, 2018, retrieved April 14, 2018 – via Federation of American Scientists
  15. ^ "7 Things That Could Totally Kill Weed Legalization's Buzz". Huffington Post. 18 April 2014. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
  16. ^ Summers, D. J. (2018). "Federal laws vs. state vs local control". The Business of Cannabis: New Policies for the New Marijuana Industry. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4408-5786-7.
  17. ^ a b "About this Collection | Legal Reports (Publications of the Law Library of Congress) | Digital Collections | Library of Congress". Library of Congress. Archived from the original on 2017-12-11. Retrieved 2017-12-10.
  18. ^ a b "Recreational Marijuana - Insights and opportunities" (PDF). Deloitte. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2018-04-28.
  19. ^ a b c "MJBiz Factbook". Archived from the original on 2017-12-05. Retrieved 2017-12-10.
  20. ^ "Marijuana in restaurants: Pipe dream or soon-to-be reality?". Nation's Restaurant News. 2018-11-13. Retrieved 2024-04-21.
  21. ^ "Medicinal Plant Chemistry". Archived from the original on 2017-12-11. Retrieved 2017-12-10.
  22. ^ "UC Irvine - Faculty Profile System - Daniele Piomelli". Archived from the original on 2018-10-05. Retrieved 2017-12-10.
  23. ^ "Green Wolverine". Archived from the original on 2017-12-11. Retrieved 2017-12-10.
  24. ^ "Want to major in cannabis? Now you can at one Ohio college". 26 August 2018. Archived from the original on 21 April 2023. Retrieved 4 March 2021.
  25. ^ "Ontario Adds 6 Cannabis Suppliers and 10 Accessories Providers". New Cannabis Ventures. Archived from the original on 2018-09-30. Retrieved 2018-09-30.
  26. ^ "This company is the future of cannabis e-commerce - BNN Bloomberg". BNN. 2018-09-11. Archived from the original on 2018-09-30. Retrieved 2018-09-30.
  27. ^ Eli McVey (2017). "Women & Minorities in the Marijuana Industry" (PDF). Marijuana Business Daily. Anne Holland Ventures Inc.
  28. ^ a b c Camors, Casey, Stacy Chavez, and Andrea Romi. “The Cannabis Industry within the USA: The Influence of Gender on Cannabis Policy and Sales.” Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal 11, no. 6 (January 31, 2020): 1095–1126. doi:10.1108/SAMPJ-12-2018-0330.
  29. ^ Hasse, Javier. "Is The Cannabis Industry As Women-Friendly As It Claims To Be? New Report Says 'Meh'". Forbes. Retrieved 2023-08-22.
  30. ^ Whitney, Bruce Barcott and Beau (2022-02-23). "The US cannabis industry now supports 428,059 jobs". Leafly. Retrieved 2023-08-22.
  31. ^ August, Karen "Women in the Marijuana Industry." Humboldt Journal of Social Relations 35 (2013): 89-103. Accessed April 1, 2021.
  32. ^ Kavilanz, Parija. "Women cash in on the marijuana boom" Archived 2023-01-16 at the Wayback Machine, CNN Business, February 4, 2016



This article is a direct transclusion of the Wikipedia article and therefore may not meet the same editing standards as CannabisQAwiki.