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How Big Will Ohio’s Legal Recreational Cannabis Industry Be Once It Launches?

Ohio became the 24th state to approve adult-use cannabis legalization when the state adopted the policy change in 2023. Legal recreational cannabis sales are expected to launch next month in Ohio, which begs the question, “how big will Ohio’s legal recreational cannabis industry be once it launches?”

According to cannabis industry data company Headset, “Ohio has been averaging $40 million in monthly sales over the past year. Generally, we see a 2 to 3X increase in sales with adult-use conversion, which would put Ohio at an $85 million monthly run rate right out of the gate. This is conservative; we anticipate even higher sales due to Ohio’s unique market dynamics and large population.”

The pre-roll sector in Ohio is assumed to experience the most dramatic change, with Headset pointing out that, “Ohio’s medical market prohibits smoking, banning Pre-Rolls, a category that captures 13.4% of national sales. Expect this to change with adult use, leading to significant opportunities in the Pre-Roll category.”

According to initial reporting by Marijuana Moment, Ohio recreational sales are anticipated to generate between $276.2 million and $403.6 million in annual cannabis tax dollars within five years.

Regulators estimate that there will be between 250-300 adult-use dispensaries once the legal recreational industry is fully operation in Ohio. A recent analysis by researchers at Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law found that roughly 2% of local governments in Ohio (as of March 31st, 2024) will continue to prohibit recreational cannabis businesses from operating within their borders once legal adult-use sales launch in Ohio.

“47 Ohio municipalities that have passed moratoriums as of March 31, 2023, represent only a small fraction (roughly 2%) of the 924 incorporated municipalities and 1,307 townships in the state of Ohio.” the researchers stated in their report. The researchers list the following moratorium examples from other legal states for contextual purposes:

  • In Michigan 73% of municipalities (1,300 out of 1,773) opted out
  • In New York, only about 50% of municipalities (753 out of 1,520) opted out

Out of the 24 states that have adopted adult-use cannabis legalization measures, only four states (New Mexico, Rhode Island, Maryland, and Minnesota) restrict local governments from prohibiting recreational cannabis businesses. Washington D.C. has also adopted a recreational legalization measure, however, Congress continues to prohibit the district from allowing recreational cannabis sales.

The United States adult-use cannabis industry has generated over $20 billion in total tax revenue since the first legal recreational cannabis purchase was made in Colorado on January 1st, 2014 according to a new report by the Marijuana Policy Project.

“Through the first quarter of 2024, states have reported a combined total of more than $20 billion in tax revenue from legal, adult-use cannabis sales. In 2023 alone, legalization states generated more than $4 billion in cannabis tax revenue from adult-use sales, which is the most revenue generated by cannabis sales in a single year.” the Marijuana Policy project stated in a press release.

Total legal cannabis sales in the United States are expected to reach $31.4 billion in 2024 according to a recent analysis by Whitney Economics. Additionally, leading cannabis jobs platform Vangst, in conjunction with Whitney Economics, estimates that the legal cannabis industry now supports 440,445 full time-equivalent cannabis jobs in the United States.

Whitney Economics also projects the following legal cannabis sales figures in the United States for the coming years:

  • 2024: $31.4 billion (9.1% growth from 2023)
  • 2025: $35.2 billion (12.1% growth from 2024)
  • 2030: $67.2 billion
  • 2035: $87.0 billion

The emerging legal cannabis industry in the United States is projected to add roughly $112 billion to the nation’s economy in 2024 according to a newly released analysis by MJBiz Daily. The projection is part of the company’s 2024 MJBiz Factbook.

“The total U.S. economic impact generated by regulated marijuana sales could top $112.4 billion in 2024, about 12% more than last year,” MJBiz stated in its initial reporting.