Guides | 12.31.2022

Year In Review: The Biggest Cannabis News Of 2022

From President Biden's initiatives to the rising number of industry employees, here's the biggest cannabis news of 2022.

2022 was another historic year for the cannabis industry. Legalization efforts are coming to fruition worldwide, and the end of prohibition is increasingly seen as inevitable. 

Some places, like Canada, ended prohibition a while ago and are now expanding their legal cannabis programs, including new products and methods of consumption. 

Overall, it’s been a great year for cannabis internationally. Cannabis legalization and decriminalization have continued to solve more problems than they create. People with charges of simple marijuana possession have gotten their records expunged, and more medical patients have access to legal cannabis medications than ever before.

While we don’t know what lies ahead for the cannabis industry and what new challenges might arise, we can at least say that the conversation around cannabis legalization took center stage in 2022. 

These are some of the most important developments that happened in cannabis this year.

Biden Pardons All Simple Marijuana Possession Offenses

The President of the United States announced that he pardoned all simple marijuana possession offenses and ordered a review of federal cannabis laws

What seems as minor as possessing pot landed roughly 6,500 individuals in federal prison, all of whom were pardoned thanks to the president. He advised the public that the following three steps will end the “failed approach” the country has taken toward cannabis:

  • Pardoning all federal offenses for simple marijuana possession
  • Calling on all state governors to do the same
  • Reviewing how cannabis is scheduled at the federal level

Brittney Griner Detained, Arrested, And Released From Russian Prison

Seven-time All-Star center and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner was detained at a Russian airport in February after authorities discovered a cannabis vape cartridge in her luggage. 

Initially sentenced to nine years in prison, there were talks of a prisoner exchange for months. It wasn’t until early December that Griner was released from a Russian prison and allowed to fly back to the United States in a prisoner swap with Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. 

Sean "Diddy" Combs Acquired Cresco Labs Assets

Cresco Labs divested assets in New York, Illinois, and Massachusetts to investor Sean “Diddy” Combs, who you might know as P Diddy. In November, Diddy acquired Cresco Labs’ operations in the three above states in a deal valued at $185 million.

Not only does the investment mark the largest Black-owned cannabis company worldwide, but it marks the first-ever minority-owned, vertically integrated multi-state cannabis operator.

The new acquisition includes the following:

  • 4 retail stores and 1 production facility in New York
  • 2 retail stores and 1 production facility in Massachusetts
  • 2 retail stores and 1 production facility in Illinois

In the three above states, Diddy has complete ownership and control of the seed-to-sale process, from cultivation to production, manufacturing, and distribution. His branded products will be available in major cities in the three mentioned states.

Cannabis Workers Outnumber Hairstylists, Barbers, & Cosmetologists Combined

In the annual Leafly cannabis industry jobs report, it was noted that 428,059 Americans are working full-time in cannabis-related jobs within legalized states. 

That impressive number of cannabis industry workers outnumbers hairstylists, barbers, and cosmetologists combined in the United States. 

It’s projected that the total number of cannabis employees in the United States will eventually reach 1.5 to 1.75 million, four times more than this year’s 428,059 workers. 

Cannabis Tourism Funnels $17 Billion Into U.S. Economy

Our frequent cannabis use and the many cannabis tourism initiatives have impacted the United States economy significantly. 

The country’s cannabis industry has brought in a whopping $17 billion through tourism initiatives alone. Reports have noted that if we continue at this rate, cannabis tourism could hugely contribute to the United States’ booming tourism economy, already worth $1.2 trillion. 

Global Cannabis Sales Expected To Reach $57 Billion By 2026

Colorado-based cannabis research market firm BDSA noted in a report that global cannabis sales are expected to reach a whopping $57 billion by 2026.

Even more interesting is the impact the United States has on this number. BDSA noted how by 2026, the country’s total cannabis sales will peak at $42 billion, making up 75% of global cannabis sales.

In 2021, cannabis sales in the United States reached $25 billion. Although inflation hasn’t been on our side, weed sales still aren’t quitting. By the end of 2022, BDSA reports a 7% increase from last year, with total weed sales at $27 billion.

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