Giadha Aguirre de Carcer is a self-professed data geek. Her enthusiasm for data could convert even the most stats averse person to the cause.

"I’ve always been an analyst," de Carcer said during her keynote address at the World Cannabis Congress. “For the last 25 years, everything I’ve done has been about looking at information and being able to, if lucky, predict the future."

De Carcer started her own company, New Frontier Data, in 2014, when Colorado had just started the process of legalizing cannabis. She was asked to do some market research on the plant and quickly realized something.

"There were no industry reports whatsoever," she said. "Bloomberg, Gardner, Ibis, you name it. Even the consulting firms that oftentimes put out papers. There was absolutely zero industry reporting in any substantive manner."

Now, slowly but surely, she’s putting together a picture of the global cannabis community, and her predictions could inform the industry decades from now.

"Data helps us predict the future," she said. "The good, the bad and the ugly. And even the ugly is useful, right? If you don’t know there’s a pitfall, how are you going to avoid it?"

Canada’s recreational market will soar

With Canada poised to become the second country worldwide to fully legalize recreational and medicinal cannabis, the nation is at the top of de Carcer’s priority list when it comes to data.

"The U.S. and Canada are absolutely laying the foundation for years to come in the global cannabis industry," she said during her presentation.

One of the most interesting things about Canada’s cannabis use, she says, is that the recreational market is expected to completely overtake the medicinal market as early as 2022.

Right now, the market is worth roughly $1.3 billion, with about $0.4 billion of that being the recreational market. By 2025, however, $4.3 billion out of a $6 billion dollar industry will be recreational.

So watch out companies, and get ready to try to keep up with the demand.

Giadha Aguirre de Carcer Keynote

Photo by Dan Culberson

Hemp will rise to the top

De Carcer’s predictions might seem a little surprising for the current cannabis community, one that is focused heavily on the medicinal and recreational market, but she believes that the future of the cannabis industry lies heavily in hemp.

"I see hemp as overtaking the entire cannabis space," she said. "It may not happen tomorrow, but the cultivation of hemp is less complicated, it requires less energy, so it's more cost effective, and the impact that it could have in other very large industries such as automotive, construction, fuel generation, semiconductors, is massive."

She predicts that by 2025, the United States will have a $25 billion dollar cannabis market, and Canada’s will be $5 billion. However, she says, globally, the hemp industry could reach a value of hundreds of billions of dollars.

"China is currently the largest producer of hemp worldwide, period. Second to none," she said, "So we’re talking about a global phenomenon."

For more information on what might happen in the future, check out the New Frontier Data website for more insights.

Banner Image: Dan Culberson