American farmers are seeing green. The once-budding cannabis industry is now available in 37 states for medicinal purposes while adults can walk into a licensed store and buy recreational weed in 11 states. Reports KCRW
Cannabis is America’s fastest-growing industry, but how much cash does all the cush translate to?
Leafly Senior Editor David Downs tells KCRW the “green rush” is taking over the nation.
KCRW: Where does cannabis stand among other harvests nationally?
When we look at these adult-use states, we often see cannabis being the number one cash crop in that state. In Oregon and Colorado as well as Massachusetts and Nevada and Alaska, cannabis is the number one cash crop.
What’s telling is that in a lot of these states, they haven’t had legalization for very long. Illinois cannabis is the number three cash crop, and people have been able to shop in stores for just over a year.
How about California?
We think California cannabis farmers on the legal side are producing about 514 metric tons of the crop each year, and the value of that cannabis production in dollars is $1.66 billion.
That ranks cannabis as number five among state crops. Number four is strawberries at $2 billion, and number six is tomatoes at $1.19 billion.
That’s a massive market, and the crazy thing is four out of five pounds grown in the state are still growing in the illicit market.
The 514 metric tons amount for the adult-use market is likely just a fraction of the actual amount California is growing. California remains the number one domestic producer of cannabis since the 80s.
Did you factor in how much the illicit market would amount to if it was factored in with the legal market in California?
We know it’s somewhere between three and five times bigger. We know that because we have pretty good solid numbers on national demand and state demand versus what’s …. [reportedly] being produced in the legal market.
We think California on the legal side is maybe serving 10% of the state’s demand. That’s in contrast to Colorado, which is five years ahead of us on the legalization curve. Over 80% of Colorado demand is being served by legal growers there.