A report has highlighted how the vape death crisis underscores the importance and urgency of legalising cannabis nationwide.
According to the report Cannabis Vaping: Opportunities in an Uncertain Future by Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics, the recent vaping-death crisis highlights the urgency of legalising cannabis nationwide.
The report shows how cannabis vape sales plummeted from a peak of $160m in August 2019 by $41m in two months, following the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report of the first death attributable to e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury (EVALI).
The ‘EVALI’ crisis grew quickly, with 2,290 cases of illness in 49 states, and 47 deaths in 25 states and the District of Columbia, from August 2019, to November 2019.
Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics stated: “The popularity of vaping is central pillar of our forecasts of the future growth of cannabis sales, so it’s crucial for cannabis industry professionals to understand the impact the vape crisis will have on the market, and how to best adjust business strategies in its wake.”
Cannabis sales drop in 2019
BDS Analytics’ GreenEdge® data indicates that after eight months of generally upward growth in combined monthly vape sales in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada and Oregon, sales plummeted 21% to $126m in September and a further 5% in October to $119m.
In 2018, sales of legal cannabis vape products in the US totalled nearly $1.6bn and, before the emergence of EVALI, the companies forecast the market growing to $2.5bn in 2019 and on to $10.6bn in 2024. At the end of September, this forecast, and the future of cannabis vapes in general, was left in doubt.
Troy Dayton, CEO of The Arcview Group, said: “The data in this report is incontrovertible; consumers want to vape, but want to do so safely.
“The fear of vaping illicit, dangerous products has put a damper on this segment of the cannabis industry. It is incumbent upon both the Federal and State governments to put into place a regulatory regime that protects consumers and advocates for highly-regulated, third party-tested concentrates.”
“Vapes have not just been the legal cannabis industry’s fastest-growing major product category, but also the focus of some of its most creative product-development and marketing initiatives,” said Tom Adams, Editor-in-Chief of Arcview Market Research and Managing Director of BDS Analytics Industry Intelligence. “The popularity of vaping is central pillar of our forecasts of the future growth of cannabis sales, so it’s crucial for cannabis industry professionals to understand the impact the vape crisis will have on the market, and how to best adjust business strategies in its wake.”
Key points covered in the report
- BDS Analytics GreenEdge® data shows vape sales neared 25% combined cannabis product sales across Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada and Oregon over the first three quarters of 2019;
- In California, for example, sales of concentrates—of which vapes are the fastest growing sub-sector—eclipsed flower sales for the first time in October 2018;
- The deaths were largely the result of consuming illicit market cannabis vape products, not those from the tested and regulated legal cannabis markets. In any case, the EVALI crisis underscores the importance and urgency behind legalising cannabis nationwide and enacting a comprehensive regulatory framework that enables further elimination of the illicit market; and
- Whether the trend will continue into 2020 and beyond depends on the results of the continued testing of EVALI patients, development of testing protocols for legal vapes, potential moves by state regulators and, most importantly, whether consumers who were previously inclined to purchase cheaper vapes from the illicit market will decide to purchase from legal sources.