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71 Million: Projected Number of Cannabis Consumers in the US by 2030

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New Frontier Data has just released their yearly projections for the cannabis industry. Several key findings and projections have been highlighted for the next phase of the industry. With the activation of new market in 18 states, the U.S is likely to have 71 million cannabis consumers by 2030. You can click this link to download a free copy of the 2022 New Frontier Data Report.

There was a time when the consumption of cannabis was limited to stealthy adult-use or was a reserve for the few who were privy to its benefits, probably from ancient traditions. That is now a thing of the past. The rate at which cannabis is now acceptable and even legal has grown like wildfire. In the year 2022 alone, it is estimated that at least 52 million adults in the U.S. will consume cannabis even if just once across both unregulated and legal and markets. This number is projected to steadily grow at an estimated rate of 4% over the next 8 years, which will have the total consumers by 2030 hit a staggering 71 million.

Though cannabis was initially largely consumed for recreation alone, a good percentage of the new users consume it for medical reasons, especially in the older demographic. Marijuana is fast being turned to for its management of nausea as well as weight loss and can also be used in the treatment of glaucoma. Another area of research that is highly promising is its use for PTSD, especially for veterans returning from active combat zones. A good number of veterans as well as their therapists have reported drastic improvement in this condition and there is therefore clamor for additional studies. This also poses the need for the government to loosen its restrictions on the studies of the benefits of medical cannabis.

In the same lines, cannabis is said to be a great muscle relaxant, with people swearing by its ability to reduce tremors caused by Parkinson’s disease. It is also said to effectively manage conditions such as fibromyalgia, interstitial cystitis, endometriosis, and many other conditions whose common final pathway tends to be chronic pain.

Other encouraging results that have led to a higher number of consumers are its positive effects on patients suffering from chronic pain and the wasting syndrome associated with HIV. Medical cannabis also greatly helps patients with irritable bowel syndrome as well as Alzheimer’s disease.

The increased consumption of cannabis is observed in both in the regulated and the unregulated markets. Though strong performances have been observed in legal state markets (that is an estimated $26.5 billion for combined state legal cannabis sales for 2021), illicit markets still continue to serve a huge segment of the U.S. demand. In 2021 alone, the illicit market garnered estimated $70 billion sales nationally. Among the states with the largest unregulated cannabis state markets are North Carolina, and Georgia. Their projected combined sales for unregulated cannabis products in 2022 is $11.2 billion and barring any interruption could grow to $17 billion by 2030.

As the number of cannabis consumers for both medical and adult-use continues to grow organically, the legalization of cannabis products by different states will lead to a decrease in illegal sales.

In 2021, only an estimated 27% of the overall U.S. cannabis sales were met by legal channels. With the continuing legalization, this figure is expected to grow to 47%- 60% by 2030.

As the cannabis population grows, the factors that will influence how much demand the legal market will be able to capture, and how fast this will happen include:

  • The flexibility of regulatory the structures in addressing the changing market dynamics
  • Market implementation timelines
  • Allowing diverse product types
  • Taxes charged affecting retail prices
  • Product access which is largely determined by the state licenses required for cultivars and dispensaries, and allowances for delivery services
  • Patient participation which will be determined by medical qualifying conditions
  • In some states that have legalized adult-use of cannabis in addition to existing medical cannabis programs, key differences exist in market growth determined by:
  • The Maturity of existing medical markets: Here, the more deeply entrenched the medical market is before adult-use legalization, the more likely that the greater use will be for medical purposes.
  • Differences in cannabis taxation between medical and adult-use programs; Medical-use programs attract little to no taxation which is attractive to some users.
  • The availability as well as accessibility of retail outlets. People will more likely gravitate to what they can access.
  • The ease of entry of new participants into the medical market dictated by types and numbers of approved qualifying conditions, cost of card renewals, etc.
  • Differences in the product type restrictions between the two markets.
  • Home cultivation and caregiver laws.

The growth in number pf cannabis consumers in the U.S. is not likely to stop any time soon. In fact, it is likely to explode across the population. As more states legalize both medical and adult-use and the stigma wears out, cannabis may become a household name in its various forms.


Lydia K. (Bsc. RN) is a cannabis writer, which, considering where you’re reading this, makes perfect sense. Currently, she is a regular writer for Mace Media. In the past, she has written for MyBud, RX Leaf & Dine Magazine (Canada), CBDShopy (UK) and Cannavalate & Pharmadiol (Australia). She is best known for writing epic news articles and medical pieces. Occasionally, she deviates from news and science and creates humorous articles. And boy doesn't she love that! She equally enjoys ice cream, as should all right-thinking people.