By Karson Humiston Founder & CEO of Vangst.
With attitudes changing about the legalization of cannabis, 2020 is looking bright for the cannabis industry, even though it faced many uphill battles in 2019. According to projections in the 2019 edition of the Marijuana Business Factbook, retail sales of medical and recreational cannabis in the United States are estimated to double from 2018 to 2020 and could rise to $30 billion by 2023.
The cannabis industry will continue on a track for long-term growth if the demand for cannabis and hemp products stays at an all-time high, legalization is pushed forward in other states, new laws are implemented in mature markets, and consumer awareness is increased.
Here are 8 cannabis industry predictions for 2020 from cannabis industry recruitment firm Vangst:
Continuation Of State-Level Legalization
Despite some disappointing losses last year, the cannabis industry is still looking towards more states moving toward adult-use legalization. In January, New Hampshire approved a bill that would legalize adult-use in the state, and New Mexico is in the process of revising a bill that could legalize it as well. Cannabis advocates are hopeful Virginia, Arizona, and Missouri may legalize adult-use cannabis soon, while medical conversations are starting in Alabama, Nebraska, South Carolina, and Kentucky. Finally, three states – Mississippi, New Jersey, and South Dakota – have already put marijuana legalization measures on their November ballots.
Federal Legalization Stand Still
Although the MORE Act and the SAFE Banking Act aren’t likely to pass in 2020, federal conversations have started, which is an optimistic outlook for the future. Rep. Joe Kennedy III recently changed his stance on marijuana and signed the MORE Act, raising the number of co-sponsors to 67, and four bipartisan sponsors of the SAFE Banking Act sent a letter to Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo on Jan. 21 asking him to advance the Senate version of the bill. The 2020 presidential election could help or hinder the future of these bills, depending on the elected nominee.
As more retailers accept debit card payments, thanks to cashless ATMs (point of banking system) and online payment processing companies, businesses will likely continue catering to consumer preferences and offer cashless transactions. Retail cannabis locations are also embracing e-commerce and are extending this service for faster in-store pick-up. The tech takeover doesn’t stop there -- companies are focusing on product transparency by allowing the consumer to track the supply chain information, potency, and dosage information for legal products.
See Also: Cannabis Tech Companies On Restrictions At CES: 'Lots Of Room For Growth Ahead'
And while cannabis tech was barred from CES 2020, there are hopes that it will be allowed in the future. This will educate consumers on what cannabis tech can do and help it become more widely accepted.
CBD Cools Off As Other Cannabinoids Come Into Focus
CBD took center stage in 2019 as brands flocked to offer CBD-infused products of every kind imaginable, but with more than 100 other known cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, lesser-known compounds like CBG, CBN, THCv and others will gain traction as the benefits for each become more well-known. Each cannabinoid has its own handful of medicinal properties, and consumers value personalization when it comes to health and the retail experience. We’ll likely see a shift towards more comprehensive cannabinoid product offerings this year.
Talk Of Terpenes
Cannabis connoisseurs are looking more closely at terpenes, the aromatic oils that provide the identifying smell of a strain. While more research is needed to identify to what extent terpenes affect the experience, some brands may switch from reporting the sativa/indica distinction to displaying a more extensive report of cannabinoids, terpenes and the overall effect of the strain.
Investments Tighten Up
Cannabis is an incredibly lucrative and exciting landscape, but investors are proceeding more cautiously before funding new opportunities. As the industry is at its largest and most profitable yet, it’s not a sign of the industry as a whole. However, investors may spend more time evaluating companies and requesting records of proven profits before pulling the trigger.
Convenience Is King
Although there are already consumption-friendly restaurants and lounges in California, Colorado is finally allowing cannabis hospitality licenses. It could mean cannabis consumption lounges will become available in the state, with the trend possibly continuing in Washington and Illinois. Also, Colorado passed a bill that will allow cannabis delivery, another milestone that California, Nevada, Oregon, and Massachusetts already have in place. And Alaska recently approved the first marijuana retail stores that will allow customers to smoke or consume products on site.
Karson Humiston is the founder and CEO of cannabis recruiting platform Vangst. She was named a Forbes 30 under 30 in 2018. Vangst if a portfolio company of Casa Verde Capital.
Lead image by Ilona Szentivanyi. Copyright: Benzinga.
The preceding article is from one of our external contributors. It does not represent the opinion of Benzinga and has not been edited.
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