cannabis plant

Is The Massachusetts Legal Cannabis Industry Oversaturated?

It is no secret that the legal cannabis industry is a popular target for people hoping to generate significant sums of money. The ‘Green Rush’ has brought a flood of aspiring entrepreneurs and investors into the emerging cannabis space.

One of the many examples can be found in Massachusetts where medical and recreational cannabis sales are legal. The first legal adult-use cannabis purchase in Massachusetts, which doubles as the first legal recreational cannabis sale east of the Mississippi, occurred on November 20th, 2018 (a 10-piece chocolate bar infused with 100 milligrams of THC).

Since that time, Massachusetts has issued hundreds of industry licenses as described in recent coverage by Green Market Report which details the results of a market analysis report by Whitney Economics.

“On the retail front, the report suggested Massachusetts may be approaching its limit on viable cannabis dispensary licensing, at least in the near-term. As of early 2024, there were 353 active retailers, with another 211 with licenses pending.” Green Market Report stated in its reporting.

“The report suggested capping the total number of Massachusetts cannabis retailers in the range of 620-650 – adding only about 100 more than currently active – to avoid jeopardizing the viability of existing and prospective store operators.” Green Market Report also reported.

Product manufacturing licenses have room for growth according to Whitney Economics, with the company’s analysis indicating that Massachusetts cultivation output could support between 1,425 and 3,200 product manufacturers. Currently Massachusetts has licensed 328 such entities.

Massachusetts currently has 427 licensed cultivators, who are collectively estimated to be able to produce roughly 4.2 million pounds of cannabis flower. However, Whitney Economics estimates that demand from the consumer base in Massachusetts only requires about 880,000 pounds. Based on the estimates, the Massachusetts market is significantly oversupplied, which is also true of other legal states such as Oregon.

In mid-April, the Massachusetts legal cannabis industry passed a major milestone, surpassing the $1 billion sales mark for the third consecutive fiscal year. On April 20th, 2024 alone, legal dispensaries in Massachusetts sold $8.5 million worth of cannabis products.

“Marijuana Establishments in Massachusetts surpassed $6 billion in gross sales last week, the Cannabis Control Commission (Commission) announced on Wednesday.” the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission stated in a press release in April.

“Massachusetts licensees surpassed the $6 billion mark less than eight months since reaching the $5 billion mark, which makes this period the shortest it’s taken for Massachusetts businesses to generate another $1 billion dollars in gross sales. As of April 21, 618 operating Marijuana Establishments have generated $488.3 million in sales so far for calendar year 2024.” the Commission also stated.

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.