Adult-use cannabis is the country’s sixth-most valuable crop with an estimated total annual haul of $5 billion, according to the 2022 Cannabis Harvest Report from Leafly and Whitney Economics.
According to the report, there are now 13,297 adult-use cannabis farms in the 15 states with operational adult-use programs. These farms produced a total of 2,834 metric tons of cannabis in the last year — more than 6.2 million pounds — up from 2,278 metric tons in 2021. The report did not look at the medical market.
The total value is down more than $1 billion due in part to large-scale farming and the adoption of cultivation technology that led to a glut of cannabis in western states, driving prices down and dropping cannabis from the country’s fifth most valuable crop to sixth.
Corn is still far and away the most valuable crop grown in the United States, with an annual value of $82.6 billion, followed by soybeans ($57.5 billion), hay ($19.3 billion), wheat ($11.9 billion) and cotton ($7.5 billion). At sixth place, cannabis ranks ahead of potatoes and rice.
The Cannabis Harvest Report was created by Leafly’s investigative team by using state-licensing totals from each of the legal states and “followed the USDA’s approach to determining annual crop value,” by multiplying the total by the state’s wholesale price, provided by Cannabis Benchmarks. Many states do not report annual production, so Leafly infers it from sources including cultivation tax revenue totals, retail sales totals and or retail amounts sold.
The report also looks at where cannabis ranks in value within each state, as well as the wholesale prices in each. Among the additional findings are that marijuana is the No. 1 cash crop in Alaska, Massachusetts and New Jersey. Prices are the highest in Alaska, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada.
Colorado produces the most cannabis at 623 metric tons, followed by Oregon at 614. California ranks third at 577 metric tons, but had the highest value at $1 billion, despite wholesale prices falling 40% year-over-year according to the findings.
“Adult-use cannabis is a top cash crop in states where it’s legal, but that song goes unsung,” lead author David Downs said in a press release. “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.”
— Brian Beckley