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Cannabis has become more mainstream in the five years since Cowen became the first major Wall Street investment bank to initiate research coverage of the industry. Today, 20 U.S. states representing 44.4% of the U.S. population and just over 50% of U.S. GDP have legalized adult use. Medical use of cannabis is now legal in 39 states, representing 76.1% of the U.S. population and 77.5% of U.S. GDP.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic served to further validate a continued trend of mainstreaming as U.S. consumers included cannabinoid products among the goods accumulated in the March 2020 “pantry bump” before weathering the initial lockdown. Moreover, several states tellingly designated cannabis dispensaries as “essential businesses,” permitting them to remain open (on a curbside pickup or delivery basis) during periods when many traditional retailers remained shuttered.

What we’re watching

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“We believe the next several months represent a critical time for the cannabis industry lobby, and we will be watching for signs of unification behind a common approach to Federal cannabis legalization.”

Cowen Research