New Leafly Report: Cannabis is America’s 6th Most Valuable Crop in 2022
November 01, 2022 at 11:00 AM EDT
The 2nd Annual Leafly Cannabis Harvest Report values legal cannabis at $5 Billion, surpassing potatoes or rice
Leafly Holdings, Inc. (“Leafly”), a leading online cannabis discovery marketplace and resource for cannabis consumers, released today its Cannabis Harvest Report, an unparalleled analysis of the last year of cannabis farming in the U.S. Created in partnership with Whitney Economics, a global leader in cannabis and hemp business consulting and economic research, the report offers the most comprehensive look at adult-use cannabis crop licensing, production, and value.
Now in its second year, the Leafly Cannabis Harvest Report calculates what the United States Department of Agriculture does not, and is the only analysis of its kind. Over a period of three months, Leafly’s award-winning investigative team performed a one-of-a-kind synthesis of licensing reports with crop production totals, and sales and tax figures from the 15 states with operating cannabis markets.
In some states, cannabis is consistently one of the highest-value crops in the field, but the federal government - and even some state and local governments - do not track harvest amounts, ignoring the value of the crop.
The report outlines the barriers America’s cannabis farmers continue to face due to federal marijuana prohibition. For example, licensed cannabis farms often lack access to basic banking services and crop insurance. Those farmers also report trouble obtaining personal mortgages and car loans, due to the nature of their trade.
David Downs, the report’s lead author and Leafly’s California Bureau Chief, says the report arms consumers and policymakers with information on America’s progress toward legalization, and the barriers still ahead.
“Simply put, local and federal governments do not treat cannabis farmers like farmers. There is systematic discrimination at the local, state, and federal level. Adult-use cannabis is a top cash crop in states where it’s legal, but that song goes unsung,” Downs said. “There is no federal cannabis policy other than prohibition and our reporting shows that each day’s delay punishes the smallest farmers the most. The American cannabis industry is fragmented but publishing otherwise unreported data can help illuminate pathways to an ideal industry.”
Key findings from the 2022 Leafly Cannabis Harvest Report:
Recreational marijuana could be legal in half of the United States if the handful of states with cannabis on ballots this November pass them. And a recent Gallup poll found that 68 percent of Americans support adult-use cannabis legalization and 91 percent support medical cannabis. The plant, however, remains federally illegal and the cultivation of a single cannabis plant is a felony that can yield up to a five-year prison sentence and/or a fine of up to $250,000.
Known as the informed way to shop for cannabis, Leafly is a marketplace that helps connect millions of annual website visitors to more than 7,800 brands and more than 5,200 dispensaries. Leafly has been gathering cannabis employment and sales data since 2015 with its annual Jobs Report, filling a crucial information gap created by a lack of data collection from the US Department of Labor, which does not count cannabis jobs due to federal prohibition. Similarly, the US Department of Agriculture does not account for cannabis crops, and excludes cannabis farmers from all of its programs, due to cannabis’ outdated status as a federal Schedule I drug.
To read the report in full, visit: https://www.leafly.com/news/industry/how-much-weed-grown-us-2022
Leafly’s investigative team, working in partnership with Whitney Economics, examined the 15 states where adult-use cannabis is for sale in licensed stores. We used state licensing totals, and followed the USDA’s approach to determining annual crop value. We researched the average annual wholesale price of marijuana in each state using Cannabis Benchmarks, and multiplied each state’s average price of wholesale cannabis by the amount produced. Many states do not report annual production, so Leafly infers it from sources including cultivation tax revenue totals, retail sales totals, or retail amounts sold. Farmer interviews, field measurements, and past research also provide metrics to normalize disparate data across states, like wet weight versus dry weight, or the value of trimmed cannabis versus untrimmed. To learn more about our methodology in detail, visit page 27 of the report.
Leafly helps millions of people discover cannabis each year. Our powerful tools help shoppers make informed purchasing decisions and empower cannabis businesses to attract and retain loyal customers through advertising and technology services. Learn more at Leafly.com or download the Leafly mobile app through Apple’s App Store or Google Play.
About Whitney Economics
Whitney Economics is a global leader in cannabis and hemp business consulting, data, and economic research. The firm’s work applying economic principles to create actionable operational and policy recommendations has been recognized by national governments and by leaders throughout the economic, investment, and business communities.
About David Downs, Leafly Senior Editor and California Bureau Chief
Leafly Senior Editor David Downs received a Literary Excellence Award from Oaksterdam University in 2022. On the cannabis beat since 2009, he’s published three books, including the best-selling cannabis crop science book ‘Marijuana Harvest.’ Downs guest lectured at the Loyola Marymount University Law School’s Journalism Law School, UC Berkeley Extension, and contributed to Continuing Education of the Bar’s Marijuana Law Hub, sponsored by University of California and the State Bar of California. Downs’ work has appeared in San Francisco Chronicle, New York Times, Scientific American, Wired, Rolling Stone, The Onion, Columbia Journalism Review, High Times, Billboard, and many more. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from UC Santa Barbara, and was a Fellow at the Medill School of Journalism’s Academy of Alternative Journalism in Chicago.