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Worldwide cannabis sales to grow 853% by 2024

It’s no secret that cannabis is considered one of the hottest investment trends of this generation on Wall Street. Although selling a processed plant isn’t exactly what you might call innovative, the black market for global weed sales generates tens of billions of dollars each year. This means there are clear-cut reasons to believe that these illicit sales can be moved to legal channels in the years to come.

Since 1996, we’ve seen two-thirds of all U.S. states give medical marijuana the green light, with 11 of these states also allowing adult-use consumption and/or retail sales. Meanwhile, Canada became the first industrialized country in the modern era to legalize recreational cannabis in October 2018. North America “going green” has played a big role in more than tripling global marijuana revenue to $10.9 billion in 2018 from $3.4 billion in 2014.

But, according to The Global Cannabis Report from Prohibition Partners, this is really just the tip of the iceberg.

A handful of dried cannabis buds lying atop a messy pile of cash.

Global marijuana sales could increase more than eightfold by 2024

The 87-page report, released this past week, suggests that worldwide legal weed revenue will increase to (drumroll) $103.9 billion by 2024. This would represent an 853% increase in sales from 2018, and equates to a compound annual growth rate of 45.6%, if accurate. For added context, the only other sales estimate that specifically focuses on 2024 comes from Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics via the State of the Legal Cannabis Markets report. In this analysis, Arcview and BDS foresee $40.6 billion in global marijuana sales by 2024.

While there are dozens of Canadian growers vying for their share of the global cannabis market, a few, such as Canopy Growth, Aurora Cannabis, Aphria, and Tilray, stand out for making the greatest strides to expand internationally. In particular, Aurora Cannabis and Canopy Growth are forecast to be Nos. 1 and 2 in terms of peak annual output, making them the likeliest candidates to focus on global marijuana growth in the not-so-distant future.

However, Prohibition Partners’ robust growth estimate by 2024 isn’t, arguably, the biggest surprise of its report. In fact, it’s not even in the top five. Here are a few additional insights/estimates that might surprise you.

A person holding cannabis leaves in front of a globe of the Earth.

1. Europe, not North America, will be the leading sales producer by 2024

Though all investors are currently focused on the North American market, The Global Cannabis Report portends that Europe will outpace North America in aggregate cannabis revenue by 2024. The expectation is that Europe will generate $39.1 billion in cannabis sales, with North America at $37.9 billion.

On one hand, Prohibition Partners sees the U.S. and Canada as being further along on the industry maturity and legalization front than Europe. On the other hand, Europe has a larger population, which is expected to play a bigger role in pushing legal weed sales beyond that of North America. After 2024, the report alludes that recreational legalizations could pick up in Europe, leading to an even larger sales outperformance, relative to North America.

A dried cannabis bud on top of a doctor's prescription pad.

2. Medical marijuana sales will handily outpace recreational weed revenue

Not only is Europe forecast to outpace North America on cannabis spending, but Prohibition Partners expects medical marijuana revenue to easily outpace recreational sales by a margin of $62.6 billion to $41.3 billion.

Even though the recreational market is considerably larger than medical cannabis, the constraint here is that there won’t be too many markets around the world that will have legalized adult-use marijuana five years from now. North America ($17.7 billion, est.) and Europe ($16.8 billion, est.) are expected to account for 84% of worldwide recreational sales by 2024, with Europe’s adult-use pot sales likely picking up toward the latter half of the upcoming decade.

This is a great time to mention that top-tier grower Aurora Cannabis has at least 132,000 kilos of its annual output located in Europe (mostly in Denmark). The largest facility, Aurora Nordic 2, should be up and running next year.

Also, Flowr Corp., while a small fry among growers, has a 7-million-square-foot outdoor grow farm located in Portugal. Flowr recently completed the acquisition of Holigen, giving it access to the Aljustel grow farm, which is capable of 500,000 kilos of annual output. While this production isn’t going to meet the same ridiculously high-quality standards placed on Flowr’s crop in Kelowna, British Columbia, it’ll provide more than enough cannabis to produce high-margin derivatives for the European market.

A black silhouette of the United States, partially filled in by baggies of cannabis, rolled joints, and a scale.

3. The U.S. will have legalized recreational pot by 2024

Another potentially shocking prognostication is that Prohibition Partners expects the U.S. to have legalized recreational pot by 2024. Despite 33 states having legalized medical marijuana in some form, cannabis remains a Schedule I (i.e., entirely illegal) drug at the federal level.

In order for this prediction to come to fruition, there would need to be significant turnover in Congress. Republicans have generally shied away from reforming cannabis in the U.S., and they currently have majority control of the Senate. What’s more, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has purposefully blocked cannabis riders and legislation from coming to the floor for vote.

In short, it would take a real shake-up in Congress for the U.S. to legalize marijuana at the federal level.

A lab research technician holding up a beaker containing cannabinoid-rich liquid.

4. There are 564 ongoing clinical trials involving cannabis

In spite of it not being a forecasted figure, it’s incredible to note that, based on data supplied by the U.S. National Library of Medicine and Prohibition Partners, 564 clinical trials are currently ongoing that involve cannabis. Of these 564 studies, 343 are located in the U.S., 106 in Europe, 49 in Canada, and 35 in the Middle East.

These studies have the real potential to improve patients’ lives. Remember, GW Pharmaceuticals became the first company to have a cannabis-derived drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in June 2018. GW Pharmaceuticals’ lead drug, Epidiolex, reduced seizure frequency from baseline by 30% to 40% in late-stage trials for patients with two rare forms of childhood-onset epilepsy. Today, GW Pharmaceuticals is looking to expand Epidiolex’s label, and is working on new cannabinoid-based therapies for indications such as spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis and autism spectrum disorder. 

A suspicious-looking man in a blue hoodie holding a potted cannabis plant.

5. The black market will remain a big problem, even in a legalized environment

Finally, it’s worth paying close attention to how Prohibition Partners derives its estimates, especially in relation to the black market. Here’s the excerpt that really caught my eye:

Our recreational cannabis market sizes do not include the black market. If a country has yet to legalize recreational cannabis, the value of the market is 0. If legalized, appropriate growth curves are applied to the legal market thereafter, while capping the legal market at maximum 60% of the value of the entire recreational market (including the black market).

Note that part about “capping the legal market at a maximum of 60% of the value of the entire recreational market?” That’s a fancy way of saying that at no point does Prohibition Partners believe a significant portion of the illicit market will be driven out. Or, put another way, 40% of all sales, at minimum, should remain in the black market.

The inability to drive out illicit producers is particularly noticeable in California, a state where consumers are being taxed as much as 45% on legal product. When compounded with the fact that close to 80% of the state’s municipalities have banned recreational retail stores, it’s practically rolled out the red carpet for the black market.

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Weed jobs are growing like weeds

There’s a time and place for everything, and judging by cannabis business statistics, now is the perfect time to look for weed jobs in the Western countries.

Here are some of the statistics you can easily find online:

  • The global legal marijuana market size is expected to reach $66.3 billion by the end of 2025, according to a new report by Grand View Research, Inc.
  • “Sales of legal cannabis in the U.S. amounted to nearly $10 billion in 2018 alone.” – Fit Small Business.
  • “The state’s three licensing authorities have issued over 10,000 commercial cannabis licenses to cannabis businesses throughout the state of California.” – California Cannabis Portal
  • “Fully legalized cannabis could eventually top U.S. cigarette sales.” – The Motley Fool

These stats show the remarkable growth of the cannabis industry. We can’t really say this was unexpected.

How legalization opened up weed jobs

Legalization of cannabis in the United States that started back in 1996 and legalization in Canada on the federal level had a huge impact in opening up the weed jobs market in North America.

All businesses in the weed industry, whether dealing with production, retail or anywhere in between, need support from different institutions, people and technology in order to function.

Not only did legalization made it possible for people to freely enjoy what they love, it has also increased tax revenue and created tens of thousands of jobs.

Even those who are opposed to legal weed can’t underestimate the impact it has had on the economy.

A recent New Frontier report on cannabis taxes states that “full federal legalization of cannabis has the potential to generate a total of $105.6 billion in federal tax revenue and 1 million new jobs by 2025”.

We know this is the ideal scenario, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed.

In this article we’re going to focus on the weed jobs available today.

If you’re looking to start fresh, switch industries, or you’re looking for your first gig, cannabis industry may just be the right fit.

You might think that you don’t have the qualifications, but you’re wrong. Marijuana industry is not only about the botanics and growing weed. That’s why it’s called an industry.

The scope of positions available is huge. Growers, trimmers, lab technicians, packers, budtenders, delivery people, chefs – all of these people work directly with cannabis.

On the other hand, the industry also offers some supporting roles in areas such as legal and medical support, marketing, HVAC, etc.

Most popular cannabis jobs

We’ve picked out five of the most popular weed jobs on the market today, so you can get a sense of the particulars of these positions. All of these actually involve handling cannabis.

Laboratory work

Qualifications for this position depend on the actual position in the laboratory: technician or manager. So, you’ll either need a high school diploma or a BS degree in engineering, chemistry or similar for higher ranked positions.

Cannabis laboratory technicians and managers make sure that the process runs smoothly in the lab. The position includes anything from data management, cleaning, extraction, to quality control. Lab workers make sure that the products are of high quality.

Here are some of the open positions listed on Indeed.

Budtender

Budtenders, or “marijuana sommeliers”, are the friendly faces you see when you go to a dispensary. Their main duty is to serve customers and explain the differences between various strains, oils or edibles. They’ll be your best shopping buddies, always providing service with a happy smile.

If you consider yourself a people person and have a high school diploma, this position is ideal for you.

It’s always a plus if you have some industry experience, but it is not required. It’s best to have a will to learn and patience.

This is not the best paying job, but don’t forget – budtenders earn tips. It all comes down to you.

There are currently 300 positions waiting to be filled, and you can find them here.

Trimmer

“Marijuana manicurists” are responsible for trimming, pruning and looking after ganja plants to ensure the highest yield. They’re also able to recognize pest damage or diseases and act accordingly.

One more thing that trimmers take care of is organization and cleanliness of the work environment.

This position requires a high school diploma and some love for the plants. In most cases, you don’t need to have previous experience because you’ll gain it over time.

Apply here.

Delivery person

One obvious requirement for this position is a clean DMV record and a valid driver’s license.

You will use your management and organizational skills to safely transport products to dispensaries or customers.

Since this position requires some lifting, you’ll get an everyday workout as a bonus.

Find a new workplace here.

Edibles chef

Have you graduated from a culinary school or training program? Would you like to spice up your culinary skills?

If so, this position may be for you. There’s a wide range of marijuana infused edibles and you would be responsible for monitoring the production or even putting your ingenuity to work and creating new delicacies.

Some companies are looking for a more specialized chef, like a pastry chef.

Explore the opportunities here.

Jobs supporting cannabis industry

As we’ve mentioned earlier, the cannabis industry wouldn’t be able to function without people working indirectly in the industry. Those positions are equally important and don’t involve direct work with cannabis.

Here’s a list of the most common ones:

  • IT Manager
  • Lawyer
  • Sales Persons
  • Security
  • HVAC Experts
  • HR
  • Marketing Manager

Average salary in the weed industry

Just like in every other industry, your salary will depend on your qualifications, level of expertise, and your position.

But there’s one more factor that will affect the number of figures on your paycheck – location. A recent survey showed that cannabis workers earn the most money in Maryland, US.

Here are just some of the industry averages compiled by Marijuana Business Magazine:

PositionAverage Annual Salary
CEO$285,113
Dispensary Manager$68,333
Edibles Producer$46,640
Budtender $32,240
Security workers$34,320
Bud Trimmer$29,667

Marijuana worker certification

One important thing to keep in mind while you look for your new job is the certification you might need. Different states/regions require different certificates, permits or licenses.

For example, if you live in Alberta, CA, you need to take the SellSafe Cannabis Staff Training first.

SellSafe is a mandatory training for both full time and part time workers in retail. It is intended for owners and managers, supervisors, cashiers, retailers, security personnel, security supervisors, etc. You can take it online and find more details on the official website.

Once you pass the SellSafe training, you can apply to be a Qualified Cannabis Worker. You won’t be able to work in Alberta’s Cannabis Market if you don’t get certified.

On the other hand, people working in retail stores in BC must be security verified. The verification is valid for two years and must be renewed. You can find more details and worker information on the British Columbia Cannabis Licensing website.

As for the U.S., most states just require you to be a resident of that state, to be over 18 or 21, and to have a clean background. Having gone through some cannabis training or courses is usually considered a plus.

Oregon, for example, does require potential employees in the cannabis industry to apply for a permit.

Conclusion

These are exciting times for cannabis enthusiasts, because for the first time you can actually make a living out of something that you consider leisure and enjoy immensely.

As Mark Twain so insightfully said, “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

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‘I haven’t agreed to anything’: Trump throws cold water on China trade deal

President Donald Trump dealt a blow Friday to investors who were hoping the United States and China were inching closer toward a partial trade deal that would roll back billions in tariffs.

Speaking to reporters, Trump said the US has yet to agree to wiping tariffs, undercutting a statement from China’s Commerce Ministry indicating openness to such a concession as part of the first phase of a trade deal between the world’s economic superpowers.

“They’d like to have a rollback,” the President said. “I haven’t agreed to anything. China would like to get somewhat of a rollback, not a complete rollback because they know I won’t do it.”

The tariffs have been a major sticking point in the negotiations between the two countries, and the latest twist sent stocks falling — a repeat of earlier episodes in which Trump himself injected uncertainty, even as breakthroughs in negotiations seemed imminent.

It’s been almost a year since Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping announced an imminent deal after a meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina. But in the ensuing months, both sides have settled into a tit-for-tat pattern, rattling markets and depressing business investment — a major drag on the US economy.

The repetitive script of these on-and-off negotiations had close observers skeptical of positive signals from both sides even prior to Trump’s comments on Friday.

“We’ve learned with these negotiations they’re not done until the ink is dry and then it’s filed, and even then you still have to wait a little while,” said Scott Kennedy, deputy director of the Freeman Chair in China Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank. “I’m still not convinced that it’s a done deal.”

UBS economist Robert Martin warned in a note to clients earlier in the week not to “place hope before expectation” as signs pointed to a delayed meeting in December between Trump and Xi.

“We have long noted that signing a comprehensive deal could prove elusive and we now have confirmation that signing even the skinniest of trade deals is proving problematic,” said Martin. “We suspect the delay in signing reflects the fundamental disagreements over the scope and content of phase one.”

In recent weeks, the President’s own advisers have been urging Trump to deescalate trade tensions with China or else risk damaging the US economy and his re-election bid in 2020.

“Our advice was get the best deal you can get now because once you get a deal signed the economy will be unleashed,” said Stephen Moore, a former CNN contributor and distinguished visiting fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation who was briefly considered for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board earlier this year. “It’s the only thing that holding growth back right now.”

Manufacturing and capital investment have languished as a result of the uncertainty of the trade war that has roiled markets for the better of part of 2019. Since the early days of trade talks, American businesses have sat on the sidelines taking a wait-and-see approach on whether Trump would be able to successfully rewrite the trading rules with China, protect their intellectual property, and stop Beijing from forcing US companies to hand over their technology.

Such uncertainty brought on by the Trump administration’s erratic trade strategy has slowed the economy, keeping the President’s goal of annual 3% economic growth out of reach just one year before voters head to polls in November.

It’s also cost Americans an additional $38 billion due to tariffs slapped on everyday consumer products, according to new data released by Tariffs Hurt the Heartland this week, and forced the Federal Reserve to slash interest rates three times this year to insulate the economy from a possible downturn.

And while US and Chinese negotiators may be on track to closing in on a slim trade deal, it will likely fall short of achieving long-stated goals by the Trump administration.

“If the administration had done nothing on China policy, we’d be at the same place we are now or maybe even better,” said Kennedy. “A Daoist approach of ‘do nothing’ may have been more effective.”

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Gecko Podcast: Eclipse Gold – Potentially the next ‘market darling’ in the gold space

After successes such as Underworld, Newmarket Gold (sold to Kirkland Lake) and the most recent one, Northern Empire, the team is again back together on a new venture.

When Coeur Mining bought Northern Empire in 2018, the team had succeeded yet again. Eclipse Gold Mining is a brand new company on its way to a public listing in Q1, 2020.

This time around, Doug Hurst and Mike Allen have created another A-team, backed and supported by some key persons behind Sandstorm Gold.

Just like with Northern Empire, the Eclipse team has found a project that tick all the right boxes:
* Nevada – The best mining jurisdiction in the world
* High Grade & Open Pit – The best way to mine
* Underexplored – Lots of upside potential
* Increased Land Package – Staked more ground, now 75 Sq Km large
* Management – They have done it before

Challenging road ahead: EU cuts economic growth rate all the way through 2021

The European Commission has downgraded the growth forecast for the euro area, warning of “a protracted period of subdued growth and low inflation in the context of high uncertainty.”

Gross domestic product is forecast to expand by 1.1 percent in 2019 and by 1.2 percent in 2020 and 2021. This is down by 0.1 percentage points for 2019 and 0.2 percentage points for 2020 compared with its projections in July.

Bruising trade wars, a slowing global economy, and a looming Brexit have combined to hit nearly every sector of the economy, said the commission.

The European economy is in its seventh consecutive year of expansion, but the bloc now “looks to be heading towards a protracted period of more subdued growth and muted inflation.”

It added that “the external environment has become much less supportive and uncertainty is running high. This is particularly affecting the manufacturing sector, which is also experiencing structural shifts.”

According to Pierre Moscovici, commissioner for economic and financial affairs, taxation and customs: “All EU economies are set to continue expanding over the coming two years, in spite of increasingly strong headwinds.”

He said the fundamentals of the EU economy are robust as after six years of growth, unemployment in the EU is at its lowest. “But the challenging road ahead leaves no room for complacency. All policy levers will need to be used to strengthen Europe’s resilience and support growth.”

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