The so-called Wolves of Weed Street predict the cannabis industry will grow into a monstrous $75 billion industry by 2030. This estimation is around $25 billion more than originally forecast, according to the latest figures from New York investment analysts Cowen & Company. There is just so much happening right now within the cannabis sector, and so many cannabis industry trends to consider, that it can be difficult to make predictions about the future of the industry.
Although the federal government has yet to unleash the cannabis plant from its Schedule I classification on the DEA’s Controlled Substances Act, it seems that statewide legalization efforts have been enough to give birth to a mighty green beast. Now the business of growing and selling weed is intimidating traditional “sin” industries (namely, alcohol and tobacco) and forcing them to rethink their position with the average consumer.
Most entrepreneurs in this cutthroat arena of buzzed commerce fully understand that if they fall asleep on the job, even if only for a second, the legal marijuana movement is going to swoop away and leave them in the dust. In the years to come, the cannabis trade is only going to become more of a contender — stealing away profits, creating new jobs and revitalizing broken economies. But it is this dynamism itself that makes the cannabis scene one of the most fascinating topics to consider today.
Here are six cannabis industry trends to watch unfold.
1) More Consumers Will Replace Alcohol With Marijuana
It has been said for years that cannabis is often used as a substitute for alcohol. It turns out that this claim was not a joke. The aforementioned report from Cowen & Company found that binge drinking rates in states with recreational marijuana laws are on the decline. The news comes just weeks after the federal government said that the nation was locked into one of the most dangerous bouts of binge drinking in American history. However, “in legal adult-use cannabis states,” Cowen wrote, “the number of binge drinking sessions per month (for states legal through 2016) was 9 percent below the national average.”
Across the board, states where weed is taxed and regulated in a manner similar to beer saw 13 percent less binge drinking than areas of prohibition. Cowen predicts that as more states move into the legal market, binge drinking will continue to plummet. Analysts say this is because cannabis keeps getting more popular and beer sales are on the decline.
2) Cannabis Education Will Become More Prevalent
As more states move to legalize marijuana for adult use and medicinal purposes, the U.S. educational system is going to be forced to rework the anti-pot spiel that it has been delivering to students for decades. Sure, most educators are not about to start encouraging marijuana consumption anytime soon, nor are they likely to amend their curriculum without the approval of the federal government.
But the foul narrative surrounding the cannabis plant is destined to mature. Some colleges, like the University of California, Irvine, for example, are now offering full semester courses on cannabis and the business that surrounds it. Considering that higher learning actually has more to do with capitalizing on cannabis these days than actual consumption, cannabis education is on its way to becoming its own specialized sector. After all, we can’t have kids believing pot is evil in throughout their formative years only to learn in college that it actually provides millions of people with a wealth of therapeutic benefits.
In addition, the average consumer will soon have more information regarding cannabis wellness at their disposal. New cannabis publications and websites are spreading. Not to mention, traditional media outlets are now comfortable reporting on the evolution of cannabis. In Maine, one radio station has even dedicated an entire show to marijuana.
3) Traditional Industry Will Expand Into Cannabis
Brewers, pharmaceuticals companies and even vegetable growers are making marijuana a part of their future plans. Many of them are just waiting for cannabis to be legalized at the national level before going full throttle. Johnson & Johnson, one of the largest drug companies in the world, is inching its way into medical marijuana. It recently inked a deal with two cannabis firms that will settle in to the company’s Canadian labs to explore the development of medical marijuana products.
At the same level, the world’s third-largest beer maker, Constellation Brands, is also hanging out in Canada, producing a line of cannabis-infused beers that it plans to sell to Canadian cannabis enthusiasts when the nation legalizes later this summer. In Colorado, Blue Moon creator Keith Villa has a new THC-infused beer that he plans to sell to cannabis consumers in legal states.
Even vegetable growers in some parts of the world are converting parts of their operations to grow marijuana. There is no doubt that these companies will find a way to eventually bring their cannabis concepts to the United States. They are simply using the Canadian market to perfect their brands.
4) Microdosing Cannabis Will Gain Popularity
One of the latest cannabis industry trends that seems poised to spiral into a way of life is microdosing. Consumers are reportedly maximizing the benefits of cannabis by consuming low-dose products that allow them to stay elevated, yet functional throughout the day.
In some legal jurisdictions, these products, which typically consist of no more than 5 milligrams of THC per dose, are sales leaders. Colorado experienced an 83 percent increase in cannabis products dedicated to the microdoser in 2017. Pot products that do not get customers completely stoned out their minds are increasingly being asked for, according to budtenders across the nation. This low-dose fashion will inevitably become more widespread as people look for new ways to make marijuana consumption a part of their social activities.
5) Cannabis Cultivation Will Become More Technology-Based
The future of cannabis agriculture is expected to gravitate toward technology-based systems in the near future. Cannabis firms are expected to get onboard with innovations that take the guesswork and labor out of growing weed. This modernization will undoubtedly come in the form of “smart farms,” according to a report from the Economist. These smart farms will use advanced tracking and data analytics technology to monitor the multiple variables necessary to bring plants to life.
This advancement in precision agriculture does it all: manages soil moisture levels and nutrients, as well as protects the plants against a variety of threats from insects to disease. Smart farms, which are “tightly controlled operations for turning out reliable products, immune as far as possible from the vagaries of nature,” are predicted to turn cannabis grows into the best “factories” on the planet.
6) Congress Will Have to Consider Ending Marijuana Prohibition
Marijuana legalization continues to spread across more of the nation, and more influential companies are eager to get in on the multi-billion cannabis industry. Congress will soon have no choice but to give the issue of nationwide legalization some serious consideration.
Along with the uncertainty of the Trump administration’s wild-card agenda against the cannabis trade, it will become more important than ever to establish policies that allow marijuana to be handled in a manner similar to alcohol and tobacco.
Guided by the money, federal lawmakers will eventually see how getting into bed with the pot lobby might help further their personal agendas. Some will also come to realize that the nation is currently missing an opportunity to collect loads of tax dollars. The latest data shows the federal government could rake in about $132 billion in annual tax revenue simply by legalizing cannabis.
TELL US, what are other cannabis industry trends you expect to see in the future?