Marijuana Market Value Larger than Tobacco’s, Nearly the Size of Wheat’s

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The legal U.S. wholesale value of the cannabis market last year was $5.7 billion, nearly four times the value of the tobacco market and more than three-quarters the size of the U.S. wheat market. The value of the market continues to grow as prices fall and production rises.

According to the 2017-2018 edition of the Cannabis Benchmarks’ Annual Review and Outlook on the marijuana market, the spot index average price per pound of marijuana fell from $1,789 in 2016 to $1,562 in 2017, a 13% drop.

The spot index itself dropped 20% in 2016, from $2,030 at the end of 2015 to $1,615 at the end of 2016. In 2017 the index dropped another 6% from $1,532 to $$1,436.

The following table from Cannabis Benchmarks shows the volume of various commodities as well as their value for 2017. Wholesale marijuana volume rose from 3 million pounds in 2016 to 3.7 million pounds in 2017. Again that’s more than four times the volume of the wholesale tobacco market.

Source: Cannabis Benchmarks

The analysts at Cannabis Benchmarks also noted that oversupply in the Colorado market has driven prices down from around $1,350 a pound in January of 2017 to near $1,100 at the end of the year. Falling prices have almost erased the value differences among various strains of cannabis. The analysts suggest that a previous conviction that cannabis is to varied to become commoditized is belied by what’s happening in the Colorado market.

California, Washington, and Oregon also saw wholesale prices drop sharply over the course of 2017. California harvests were the best in years as were harvests in Oregon.