America’s addiction to medical marijuana has reached a historic milestone. Between the first day of legal sales in California in January, and the end of the year, the U.S. cannabis market has skyrocketed to $14.6 billion. That’s according to Cannabiz Media, which is a web-based cannabis industry media company.

Legal cannabis sales shot up to $17.5 billion during the pandemic as dispensaries helped Americans stock up on marijuana. The pandemic of 2015-2016 saw a dramatic increase in people acquiring medical marijuana. Doctors who treat chronic pain, as well as those who treat chronic pain patients, are reporting a spike in patients with chronic pain who have experienced a dramatic increase in the amount of Cannabis they are using.

After several years of sales growth, legal cannabis sales reached a new record high of $17.5 billion for 2016, and the industry is expected to continue to increase in value. Marijuana is now the second most valuable crop in America, surpassing tobacco, and the industry is expected to reach $50 billion by 2021.

word-image-2572 Shortly after Nevada officials announced that licensed cannabis shops and medical dispensaries could reopen after the closures, Nicholas McLean said cars were waiting in line for five blocks to be picked off the sidewalk. Like many other industries in Las Vegas, the cannabis industry relied on tourists, but that changed when the pandemic hit, Mr. McLean, CEO of Aether Gardens, a Las Vegas-based cannabis producer, told the New York Times. Locals are picky – they want what they can’t find on the black market, McLean says. Especially if you’re sitting at home. Sales of legal cannabis in the U.S. were exceptionally high in 2020, up 46 percent from 2019 to a record $17.5 billion, according to cannabinoid market research firm BDSA. I expect this to be the first year that cannabis sales in Nevada exceeded the one billion mark, McLean said. And in a context that no one expected, I think. In western Massachusetts, where recreational cannabis use is legal, Meg Sanders, CEO of Canna Provisions, says the state’s restrictions and then the company’s distillation requirements forced her to radically change her sales strategy. Initially, only medical pharmacies were allowed to open, while retail outlets selling recreational products had to close. The fact that liquor stores are deemed necessary and adult-use cannabis stores are not – especially when the law passed in Massachusetts seeks to regulate cannabis like alcohol – is surprising and unfortunate, Sanders told the Times. After Canna Provisions was allowed to reopen, the store’s signature style had to be changed in favor of phone pre-orders. Our county is an Internet desert, she said. Now, when customers call, they speak to a sales associate who can answer their questions and direct them to the topical products, essences and smoking accessories available – a method she says works for business. In our Lee store, pre-orders now account for almost 100% of our business. So we bought more phones and hired more people to take the calls, and our sales went up, she says. In Florida, Osvaldo Graziani Lemoine, creative director of Fluent Cannabis Care, said his company’s 19 locations could remain open to about half a million residents of the state with a medical cannabis card. (Recreational use is prohibited in the state of Florida). For us, it’s less about the in-store experience and more about giving our customers good deals and making it easier to buy merchandise, he told The Times. In addition to offering special discounts, Graziani said future stores will be designed around pre-orders and end-to-end sales – no counters, no halls, just green.

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