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How Much Is Hawaii’s Cannabis Market Worth?

In December 2022, the State of Hawaii’s Department of Health (Office of Medical Cannabis Control and Regulation) issued a report to Hawaii’s Legislature summarizing research on a potential ‘dual-use’ cannabis industry in which medical cannabis dispensaries in Hawaii would also be permitted to sell recreational cannabis products.

The goal of the report was to “explore the development of a dual use program for cannabis and the impacts of cannabis legalization on qualifying patients, including access to medical cannabis by qualifying patients” according to its authors.

“The 2021 Hawaii cannabis market is estimated to be worth $240 million, of which $50 million derives from the medical cannabis industry and the remaining are in illegal sales.” the report stated about the size of Hawaii’s cannabis market.

Hawaii already permits medical cannabis dispensaries to operate, and the state’s medical cannabis program recognizes out-of-state patients who have a valid patient registration in their home state (reciprocity).

“Although the sales at medical cannabis dispensaries have steadily grown from $18.2 million in 2018 to $50 million in 2022, the percentage of card-holding patients that use dispensaries to make purchases has declined. In January 2021, unique patient encounters only represented one-third of total patients.” the report stated about Hawaii’s medical cannabis market.

An analysis in February 2023 by the Hawai’i Cannabis Industry Association found that adult-use legalization in the state would create an estimated 3,375 new jobs and yield nearly $82 million in annual tax revenue. As of May 31, 2024, the state had 31,154 registered medical cannabis patients.

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 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.

79% of people living in the United States lived in a county with at least one regulated cannabis dispensary according to an analysis by the Pew Research Center. The Pew Research Center also found the following:

  • 74% of people in the U.S. live in a state where recreational or medical cannabis is legal
  • There are nearly 15,000 cannabis dispensaries in the U.S.
  • California has the most overall dispensaries (3,659)
  • Oklahoma has the most dispensaries per capita (36 dispensaries for every 100,000 residents)

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 an 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.