Massachusetts Legal Cannabis Market
New Frontier Data expects Massachusetts’ 2016 medical cannabis market sales to total $52 million, and reach $101 million in 2017. As one of four states to pass adult use legalization measures in 2016, Massachusetts is expected to activate an adult use market in 2018 and dramatically increase the size of the state’s cannabis industry. Sales are forecast in 2020 to exceed $1 billion, of which 72% will come through the adult use market. From 2016 to 2020, the Massachusetts market is expected to have a compound annual growth rate of 113%.
The state’s young medical market has grown quickly over the past two years, to include more than 30,000 patients served by the state’s nine operational dispensaries. A slow rollout of those dispensaries resulted in some early supply constraints for patients, but with up to 35 dispensaries allowed in the first wave of licensing, patient access is expected to improve as more dispensaries open. When all pending dispensaries open, the state estimates that 98% of its population will live within 25 miles of a dispensary.
Activation of the state’s adult use market may take longer than initially forecast since lawmakers voted in December 2016 to extend the deadline for formation of the Cannabis Control Commission(CCC), from March to September 2017. The CCC will oversee the state’s industry, including establishing final regulations for operators. The delay may come with other changes to the legalization measure voters approved in November 2016, including proposals regarding possession and home cultivation limits, and an increase in the cannabis consumer age minimum from 21 to 25.
The proposed changes set the stage for a robust debate about the future of adult use cannabis in the state over the coming year. Regardless of those results, Massachusetts is poised to become the most consequential cannabis market on the East Coast due to expected strong demand both from residents and consumers in neighboring states.