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By the Numbers: A Year of Cannabis in 2018

January 3, 2019
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It’s safe to say 2018 was a monumental year for cannabis. Canada went legal, California tallied up recreational sales for the first time, and a new farm bill made the business of hemp legit in the eyes of the US government. If that wasn’t enough, two more states approved recreational sales while three approved medical sales.

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There were so many big stories, it’s almost impossible to keep track of them all. So let’s make it simple and sort out the year in cannabis by the numbers. Think of it as a quick and easy way to put 2018 in perspective.


The Top 10 Cannabis Stories of 2018

Cannabis by the Numbers: A Complete Index of 2018

  • Overall value of the marijuana industry in 2018: $10.4 billion
  • Estimated number of people employed by the marijuana industry: 250,000
  • Number of additional states that legalized recreational marijuana in 2018: 2 (Vermont by state legislature and Michigan by ballot measure, bringing the total to 10 plus the District of Columbia)
  • Total number of states that have now legalized medical marijuana (after the addition of Oklahoma, Missouri, and Utah in 2018): 33
  • Number of U.S. senators who voted for the farm bill legalizing industrial hemp: 87
  • Number who voted against it: 13
  • Total number of countries who have now legalized marijuana on a national level: 2 (Canada and Uruguay)
  • Number of transactions on the first day of legal cannabis sales in Quebec: 42,000 (leading to a temporary product shortage)
  • Money raised by Canadian company Tilray on Nasdaq as the first cannabis-related business to have an initial public offering on a major stock exchange: $153 million
  • Days it took President Trump to fire Attorney General (and notorious marijuana opponent) Jeff Sessions after the November election: 1

Trump Fires Attorney General Jeff Sessions

  • Acreage devoted to growing hemp in Colorado: 23,343
  • Number of permits issued by the city of Denver for its social consumption program: 2
  • Number of those permits that led to the actual 2018 opening of a public cannabis lounge: 1
  • Amount invested by alcohol beverage giant Constellation Brands into Canadian marijuana producer Canopy Growth: $4 billion
  • Age of death of Dennis Paron, a groundbreaking leader in the medical marijuana revolution: 72
  • Amount High Times is seeking through private investment shares: up to $50 million
  • Combined sales of edibles in California, Oregon, and Colorado: $150 million
  • Price per share to take Tesla private (according to a questionable Twitter post by Elon Musk): $420
  • Percentage that Tesla stock immediately dropped after Elon Musk smoked pot on Joe Rogan’s podcast: 6
  • Square footage of Planet 13, the first cannabis “superstore” in Las Vegas: 112,000

Check Out the World’s First Cannabis Superstore in Las Vegas

  • Number of trained drug-sniffing police dogs supposedly at risk of being euthanized if recreational cannabis is approved in Illinois: 275
  • Percentage of Americans in a Gallup poll who believe cannabis should be legal: 66
  • Percentage in a Harris poll who believe fewer people would die from opioids if legal cannabis was an option: 53
  • Hours it took for a jury to dismiss a lawsuit in Colorado claiming the smell of cannabis manufacturing made it unpleasant to ride horses and lowered property values: less than 4
  • Taxes collected on cannabis sales during the first full year of recreational cannabis in Nevada: $112.77 million
  • Number of dispensaries in Portland: 167
  • Number of adult-use dispensaries in Oakland: 6
  • Walmart stock increase after the retail giant said it was considering cannabis-infused products in Canadian stores: 2.1%
  • Hours spent by Leafly readers looking up strain-of-the-year Gelato in November alone: 435,000
  • Price for the Growers Series, a gift package by Francis Ford Coppola that includes a gram each of three different California strains, rolling papers, glass pipe, matches, and a wine bottle-shaped storage container: $99

Give the Gift of Monthly Goodies With These Cannabis Subscription Boxes

  • Number of times the word “cannabis” or “marijuana” is mentioned in the criminal justice reform bill that passed Congress with bipartisan support in December: 0
  • Percentage of the vote earned by pro-cannabis Democrat Gavin Newsom in being elected governor of California: 59
  • Capital raised in April by Green Bits, a company that produces software for cannabis retailers: $17 million
  • Percentage of women in a St. Louis University study who said cannabis enhanced their sex lives: 65
  • Number of licenses issued by Massachusetts regulators for what would become the first adult-use dispensaries on the East Coast: 4
  • Hours the first customer at the New England Treatment Access dispensary in Northampton spent in line on the first day of sales in Massachusetts: 8
  • Number of cannabis business exhibitors at the annual MJBizCon trade show in Las Vegas: 1,027
  • Estimated number of California cannabis growers according to a February report: 68,150
  • Percentage of those growers who were still unlicensed at the time: 99

California Voters Advance Pro-Cannabis Governor, New Taxes

  • Number of states where you’ll find investments by Acreage Cannabis Holdings, a company that added former House Speaker John Boehner as a board member in April: 11
  • Number of Koreans with student visas in Canada who risk up to five years in jail back home due to smoking cannabis abroad: 23,000
  • Number of arrests made in South Korea for smuggling cannabidiol into the country before it was legalized for medical purposes in November: 38
  • Number of Mexico Supreme Court rulings that determined blanket marijuana prohibition is unconstitutional: 2 (which along with 3 previous similar rulings together set a broad standard for decriminalization)
  • Percentage of parents in an Israeli study who felt cannabis reduced symptoms of autism in their children: 61
  • Investment by Altria, the parent company of tobacco giant Philip Morris, into the cannabis industry: $1.8 billion
  • Cannabis excise tax in Washington state: 37%
  • The amount it can be raised to, according to a report by two economics professors, without affecting revenue: 50%
  • Submissions received after the Food and Drug Administration asked for public comment on the issue of cannabis: 20,708
  • States poised to (possibly) legalize recreational cannabis in 2019: 6 (Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and Rhode Island)

Robert Kachelriess's Bio Image

Robert Kachelriess

Rob Kachelriess is a Las Vegas-based writer and editor whose work has appeared in Thrillist, Travel + Leisure, Modern Luxury, Supercall and other publications. When not in front of a laptop, he stays busy hanging out with wife Mary and chihuahua Zoey.

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