The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reported that over 11.8 million young adults have used marijuana products in 2018. Before that year, when various states had not yet established a comprehensive cannabis program that granted cannabis licenses, people had already reported marijuana usage.

The 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that 2.1 million people in the U.S. abused marijuana for the first time. With all these statistics revealing the popularity of marijuana usage across the states, experts consider the drug as the third most commonly used addictive drug after tobacco and alcohol.

Cannabis consumption across the U.S. states seems only to rise throughout the years. With the drug becoming more available, and recent studies highlighting the plant’s medical benefits, many people can easily purchase a marijuana product or even a smoking subscription box from their nearest dispensary. This article highlights existing statistics on marijuana usage in the U.S. for insights into annual consumption rates.

Brief Definition: What Is Marijuana?

Marijuana is the common term associated with cannabis, although technically, marijuana is a species and cannabis is the genus. In other words, all marijuana is cannabis but not all cannabis is marijuana. We use both terms interchangeably in this article unless stated otherwise.

Marijuana Marketing Size in the US

Market data may provide significant insight into the amount of cannabis consumed in the United States every year. In 2018, the legal marijuana industry was found to be worth $10.4 billion. Meanwhile, based on 2018 New Frontier Data, the USA may earn an estimated amount of $23 billion in legal sales by 2025.

California is the leading state in marijuana sales. In 2018, the state amassed a total of $5.6 billion in both legal and illegal marijuana sales. New York, Washington, Florida, and Colorado are the next states with the largest legal and illegal marijuana sales statistics, at $2.3 billion, $2.2 billion, $2 billion, and $1.9 billion, respectively.

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Who Consumes Cannabis in the US?

Marijuana products are most popular among adolescents and young adults. According to the NIDA, more men than women use marijuana products. At the same time, the Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey reported that marijuana usage among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders peaked around the mid-to-late 1990s. The MTF survey records drug use and attitudes among middle school and high school students in the U.S.

By 2019, perceptions around marijuana’s risks and harmful effects have declined. This decline caused a significant boost in marijuana usage among teens and students in younger grades. Here is a chart detailing the percentages of marijuana usage among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders in 2019:

GradePercentage of Students Using Marijuana
Used in the Past YearUsed in the Past MonthUsed Daily

This percentage is most likely to increase along with the increasing popularity and easy accessibility of vaping devices. Survey data on vaping suggests that vape products are becoming more popular because young people say they are more accessible and much cheaper than other tobacco products. Despite lesser costs, experts expect the e-cigarette and vape market in the U.S. to reach $40.25 billion by 2028 based on current projections.

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Vape liquids derived from marijuana contain THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the naturally occurring compound in cannabis plants that causes a high. With vaping devices becoming more popular and accessible, about 4% of children in 12th grade have reported that they consume THC products via vape daily.

Medical Cannabis Usage in the US

In 2020, statistics show that the estimated medical marijuana industry in the U.S. earned $7.1 billion in retail sales. Although medical marijuana is currently only legal in 35 states, there are 5,461,491 registered state-legal medical cannabis patients throughout the United States. Patients must have debilitating health conditions to qualify for a medical marijuana card, which allows them to legally acquire cannabis to help treat their conditions.

Currently, Florida has the greatest number of state-legal medical cannabis patients. The number of registered patients is 561,177, which is 2.61% of the state’s total recorded population. Michigan (250,805), Ohio (186,590), Illinois (156,224), and New York (151,355) are the next four states with the highest number of state-legal medical cannabis patients.

Photo by GreenForce Staffing on Unsplash


Since 2018, the U.S. has consumed at least $10.4 billion worth of cannabis products. This amount is only going to increase as the states continue to make cannabis products more available and easily accessible to the general public. The cannabis industry grows every day, so it pays to stay updated on the recent events surrounding the market.

TNM News is dedicated to delivering cannabis industry news. We cover the latest marijuana news across the states, highlighting topics including the legality, tax rates, and the best marijuana-related destinations by state and abroad. Visit our news site to get daily updates on the marijuana business landscape.