The Growth of the Cannabis Industry: A Beginner’s Guide

Written by Dr Green Jun 5, 2024

The cannabis industry is evolving rapidly, with significant advancements and a growing acceptance worldwide. 

Dr Green, with renowned facilities in Portugal, is at the forefront of this transformation, leveraging unique government partnerships and pioneering the use of Digital Key smart contracts to enable legal cannabis trade globally. 

This blog aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the cannabis industry, tracing its history, market size, and future trends.

A Historical Perspective

The journey of the cannabis industry is a tale of transformation. Once vilified and subjected to stringent prohibition, cannabis has seen a remarkable shift in public perception and policy. 

In the early 20th century, cannabis was largely prohibited across the United States and British colonies, driven by concerns over its recreational use. This era of prohibition extended well into the century, with many countries maintaining strict bans.

The UK's experience with cannabis reflects this global trend. Cannabis was classified as a Class B drug under the Dangerous Drugs Act 1971, marking it as a substance with high potential for abuse.

Despite this, cannabis was downgraded to a Class C drug in 2001, effectively decriminalising personal possession and use. 

However, this policy was reversed in 2007, reinstating its Class B status. It wasn't until 2018 that the UK legalised medicinal cannabis, but access remains limited and heavily regulated.

Global Market Overview

The global legal marijuana market was valued at USD 13.2 billion in 2021 and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25.5% from 2022 to 2030. 

This growth is driven by increasing legalisation for both medicinal and recreational use, expanding consumer acceptance, and ongoing research into the therapeutic benefits of cannabis.

The UK Market

In the UK, the medicinal cannabis industry is still in its infancy but shows promising growth. In 2019, the market generated less than USD 200,000 in revenue, which surged to USD 87 million by 2021. 

By 2024, the market is expected to reach USD 1.2 billion. Despite these numbers, the market faces significant challenges, including stringent regulations and limited access for patients.

The UK's medicinal cannabis products are predominantly imported, despite being one of the world's largest producers of medicinal cannabis for export. 

This paradox highlights the complexities within the regulatory framework, where stringent guidelines and limited NHS prescriptions hinder domestic access.

Future Trends and Opportunities – Increasing Legalisation

The trend towards legalisation is gaining momentum worldwide. In the US, 88% of adults support some form of legalisation, whether for medicinal or recreational use. 

This shift in public opinion is mirrored in the UK, where 48% of the population supports the legalisation of marijuana, and a significant majority of Members of Parliament agree that current policies need updating.

Technological Innovations

Innovations in cannabis cultivation, processing, and distribution are transforming the industry. Dr Green's Digital Key smart contract is one such innovation, enabling secure and legal trade of cannabis globally. 

This technology not only ensures compliance with legal standards but also streamlines the supply chain, making cannabis products more accessible to consumers.

Market Expansion

As more countries relax their cannabis laws, the global market is set to expand significantly. The UK, despite its conservative stance, is expected to gradually ease restrictions, providing opportunities for growth in both medicinal and recreational sectors. 

Additionally, the rise of CBD products, regulated as novel foods in the UK, presents a burgeoning market segment.


The cannabis industry is on the cusp of a transformative era. With historical stigmas fading and legislative landscapes evolving, the potential for growth is immense. 

Whether you're an investor, entrepreneur, or simply curious about the industry, the future of cannabis holds exciting possibilities. Join us at Dr Green in shaping the future of global cannabis trade, and be part of a movement that's redefining this dynamic industry.