The 2020 landscape has been completely upended by COVID-19. Businesses from nearly every sector of the economy have temporarily shut down, laid-off employees, and lost any type of financial momentum. Including the cannabis market.
Protocols differ from state to state, determined by their respective governors — in Massachusetts recreational dispensaries are closed, while medical dispensaries remain open. While in Illinois, all dispensaries are open for business because they have been determined to be an “essential” business. Either way, the pandemic has disrupted the growing industry.
In light of all that, once public health is once again determined to be in good standing, where will the cannabis industry expand to next? Upon entering 2020, six states were expected to entertain the idea of legalization for the drug this year. Florida and New York being two of them. However, both states appear will wait another year before recreational cannabis becomes legalized. (Florida lacked resident petition support and New York left no room for legalization in the budget). The four remaining states that may legalize include: Arizona, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Vermont.
Here are five areas we suspect cannabis may be changing in the near future…
CBD Products Will Continue Grow in Demand
While cannabis remains the heavy hitter within the hemp-derived industry, CBD is rather quickly staking its claim within the market. Retail sales of CBD increased by over 130 percent in the United States in 2019, with expected market sales to eclipse $10 billion by 2024.
A large segment of the casual cannabis user demographic consumes cannabis for some type of health benefit. Whether helping with insomnia or anxiety, cannabis is viewed as a popular treatment method by many. However, the side effects associated with cannabis are not enjoyed by everyone. The “high sensation” is not present in CBD due to the absence or near absence of THC. Therefore, many of the same benefits can cannabis show are also available in CBD — without the head fog and red eyes.
For this reason, and the national legalization of CBD products 9that fall under 0.3 percent THC content), we expect to see this sector of the industry make sizeable expansion in the near future.
Continued Globalization of the Market
The U.S. has been slow adopters to cannabis legalization. Countries like Portugal and Columbia have been first movers in the market and will continue to grow their slice of the pie in the world cannabis sector. However, with the majority of U.S. states allowing some legal form of cannabis use, the U.S. cannabis market is well underway to becoming a long-standing mainstay.
This activity and infusion of U.S. investor and consumer money will spur the growth of markets around the world to further cultivate and establish their cannabis industry. Keep an eye on Europen countries like France Spain and Latin American countries like Peru and Chile.
Increased Use in Older Generations
Cannabis stigmas continue to get broken down on a daily basis. With better marketing of the product and new research, the mass public has started to view the drug through a different lens. Some of the last opinions to change have been older generations who grew up with the war on cannabis use and government propaganda. However, older Americans are coming around to the idea of medical and recreational cannabis use. Soon, in the next five years or so, this demographic will be a strong consumer base for the industry.
Relaxed Attitudes By Organizations and Employers
Running parallel to the government’s classification and strict outlaw for cannabis use, most organizations and employers have struck the same tone. However, these no tolerance policies are starting to crumble. Just this year, Major League Baseball adjusted their substance abuse guidelines, no longer punishing players for testing positive for cannabis use. As more organizations and private employers change their views on the drug, we can expect to see a more laissez-faire attitude about its public and private use.
More Home Growing?
With the near halt of the American economy and people being stuck in quarantine, this indefinite at-home-order might spur more cannabis users to dip their toes into home growing. In most places where recreational cannabis is legal, citizens of that state are able to cultivate cannabis plants in their own residence (up to a certain amount). This prediction would further spur the equipment production side of the industry as more private growers would need lighting, watering, and potting solutions.
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