2020 … was a year that many would prefer to forget. But through it all, 2020 was a groundbreaking year for the cannabis industry. Despite the environment, cannabis thrived. When it comes to retail, by and large we were the lucky ones in 2020.
There is a lot to reflect on. Here are a few highlights.
An Essential Industry
Unfortunate as the circumstances may be, being labeled an essential industry in over 25 states was a huge source of legitimacy for the industry. Together, we helped patients and adults weather the 2020 storm.
Growth Against the Odds
True to itself, the industry grew against the odds. According to mid-year estimates, the industry was still on track to grow by 40% through 2020.
More States Joined the Movement
Overall, five states passed recreational or medical cannabis legalization in 2020. The list now includes New Jersey, Arizona, Montana, Mississippi, and South Dakota. Regardless of other issues and divisiveness, one thing was clear across the board – people want access to safe, consistent, and legal cannabis.
We Kept America Working
Despite some notable layoffs occurring throughout the year, industry growth meant job creation. More than 243,000 full-time employees worked in the industry.
MORE Moral Wins
A significant majority of Americans now back the cannabis industry. In 2020, 68% of Americans signaled support for legalization, up from 66% a year ago.
As a sign of progress, the House of Representatives passed the MORE Act, which would take cannabis off the list of dangerous drugs as well as restore the rights of thousands of American cannabis consumers who were impacted by the war on drugs, along with the SAFE Banking Act earlier in the year. This is strong recognition on the federal level that the U.S government made a mistake in demonizing this plant and industry. The bills are yet to be considered by the Senate, but at this point it is only a matter of time before federal reform comes.
Cannabis Goes Digital
It’s not just conferences that went digital in 2020. Cannabis did record e-commerce and delivery sales in 2020. In one prominent example, Jane Technologies reports having enabled two billion dollars in sales during 2020 alone. The year drove consumers and businesses to adopt a variety of digital payment methods to enable a more cashless or contactless experience, and we see no reason to believe this trend will reverse course in 2021.
While many would like to forget 2020, the cannabis industry will always remember it. It was characterized as a year of new opportunity, record-breaking sales, and political support for legalization at the highest level. As we look to the future, we are confident in the strength of the cannabis industry and its operators. This year was full of unexpected and unprecedented success, which should only be expected to continue in 2021 and beyond as this industry continues to flourish.