Even with the unusual circumstances of 2020, CBD has been doing reasonably well in the US. The country has witnessed increasing consumer use, and several retail channels, such as e-commerce, are seeing a boost in patronage.
This has led to a general upward trend in sales, which have been on cloud nine ever since the Farm Bill was passed in December 2018. Hemp-derived CBD containing no more than 0.3% THC is legal in most states in the US, although various regulations and laws apply.
States that are working to harness the economic potential of CBD are able to access a market that has long existed in the shadows. As a result, many are being rewarded with the presence of CBD manufacturers seeking to invest in the next big product and droves of intrepid consumers driving millions in sales.
How do the sales and revenue figures compare amongst states of the US? Here’s what we’ve learned about CBD sales by state in the US.
Top states for CBD sales in 2019
2019 was a dream year for the CBD industry, as sales rose by over 700% compared to any other year. Of course, this accounted strictly for the newly legal sales in hemp-derived CBD which were understandably negligible previously. This takes nothing away from the impressive figures though.
It was an especially happy year for certain states, particularly California, Florida and New York. These states recorded hundreds of millions in sales, with California leading the rest of the US by a wide margin, as reported by Statista. California had an estimated $730 million in sales, followed by Florida, with $290 million and New York, with $215 million. Here’s the full list of CBD sales by state in 2019.
- California$730 million
- New York$215million
- New Jersey$109million
While states that arrived on the cannabis scene much earlier, like Colorado, could have been expected to capture more of the CBD sales, it’s arguable that California, Florida and New York benefited from their larger population. Each of these three states are amongst the top four most populous states in the US.
This is especially the case considering that these states do not rank very high when it comes to states that are very encouraging for hemp manufacturers and retailers. But they would have been very pleased with their 2019 showing and may possibly take this as an opportunity to tweak their CBD programs to become more favorable.
CBD in California
Considering that it enjoyed the most sales in 2019, it’s natural to wonder how this was possible (apart from their massive population of course).
California has always been liberal towards cannabis, being the first to legalize medical cannabis. The state first passed its Compassionate Use Act in 1996 to allow people have access to medical marijuana, and in 2016, it enacted the Adult Use Marijuana Act legalizing adult use.
According the California Attorney General, the state maintains a similar position with the FDA when it comes to hemp-derived CBD. Per the FDA’s stance, CBD with less than 0.3% THC is legal for cultivation, processing, sale and use. However, the state does not allow the use of CBD or its derivative products as food, food ingredients, food additives, or dietary supplements.
The state clearly regulates hemp farming under the Industrial Hemp Farming Act which allows the commercial production of hemp. The state’s Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is also exploring regulations for the industry.
California requires commercial hemp growers in the state to register with the CDFA annually, with a fee of $900. For private label CBD manufacturers also catering to consumer side, there are labeling requirements that each product must strictly follow. This includes ensuring that labels do not contain misleading information or have a design that is attractive to children.
In addition, hemp growers are required to submit samples of their crop for testing latest 30 days before harvest. The submission must include their personal details, GPS location of their cultivation and acreage of the crop.
The state does not commit any special resources to CBD at present, and as mentioned, the CDFA is still in the process of fleshing out regulations in the state.
How is 2020 shaping up?
Although the year has thrown up unique challenges for US-based CBD manufacturers, sales have been doing reasonably well so far. Earlier growth projections forecast the industry would see sales of up to $10 billion in 2020 and more than double that figure by 2024.
While those projections have not become reality, sales in the industry are still growing at a reasonable clip. According to revised growth estimates released in July 2020, sales for this year are expected to reach $4.7 billion, a 14% increase over 2019 figures. And we may yet see even better figures.
So far, 2020 has been the year of e-commerce sales for the CBD industry. Reports indicate that online sales of CBD products grew by 61% during the year, compared to the corresponding period last year. This has been pretty key for several reasons.
CBD products are not especially easy to sell online, largely due to the relative lack of regulation in the industry. As a result, it is harder to sell private label CBD products on large online marketplaces such as Amazon and Ali Express. The unclear regulatory landscape of these products makes stocking them a legal risk that certain stores may be unwilling to take.
However, more people are able to access the products online due to the growing direct-to-consumer sales models many CBD businesses are now adopting. This has made CBD products much more accessible and is contributing to a rise in the number of people who are either using CBD or plan to do so.
Overall, 2020 has been rough for some businesses, but sales are still reasonably good, and as more businesses recover from the effects of the pandemic, things may become even better.
The CBD industry has always divided opinions, and its bipolar nature is shining through once again in the statistics for CBD sales by state. Despite this, the relative youth of the industry means things can only get better, and this is one outcome US-based hemp manufacturers will keep fingers crossed for.