This year was momentous for the cannabis industry.
Almost a dozen states enacted medical marijuana laws, and we now have 21 states with legal adult-use marijuana markets. Cannabis expungement or at least record-sealing laws were approved in states in California, Colorado, as well as Illinois, helping provide relief for thousands of people with previous cannabis convictions and giving them a new lease on life.
Additionally, three states and Washington DC passed bills that put a stop to workplace drug testing, finally. In California, a new law was passed which mandates social workers to treat parental cannabis use the same way they treat alcohol.
These are just some of the MANY wins we’ve seen this year.
Sales continued to increase throughout the year, though not as strong as before the pandemic. COVID-19 saw a massive growth in sales. However, Headset, a cannabis data firm, released a report noting that mature marijuana markets including Washington and Oregon saw a drop in sales compared to one year ago. “What we saw in 2020 was a massive spike in sales tied to the pandemic as people stayed home, had government stimulus money, and not a lot to do,” explains Chris Wash, CEO of Marijuana Business Daily to CNBC.
How sales pan out next year is still something that is yet to be determined.
Having said that, below are some cannabis trends we expect to see in 2023:
A majority of cannabis sales were dominated by flower not very long ago. However, that number continues to dwindle as the demand for delicious drinks and edibles soar. Cannabis companies are responding: there are now more choices for delicious cannabis edibles and tasty, refreshing infused beverages than ever.
Many consumers also see the value of replacing their boozy drinks with a CBD or THC drink in hand. It’s proven to be a safer alternative, and doesn’t come with any of those disgusting hangovers. Infused seltzers are the new trend now, but it isn’t really just a buzzword: these great drinks come in lower doses, and no longer require people to smoke. We have recognized early on in 2022 that cannabis drinks, in particular, are truly the star of the show these days – and that will continue to strengthen in 2023 with even more choices.
In addition, drinks aren’t just a good alternative to alcohol. It’s also a fantastic choice for health-conscious consumers to get their cannabinoids in.
According to a report, legal cannabis sales are expected to increase 60% more by 2026, hitting a whopping $53 billion. However, experts believe this is a conservative estimate given how quickly legalization is spreading in the nation. Year after year, data shows that legalization in the United States continues to move full steam ahead, boosting sales all over the country.
Those states that have not legalized marijuana by now are typically those that are Republican and conservative, a trend that has been consistent through the years. Despite that, South Dakota, Mississippi, and Alabama legalized medical marijuana sometime in the last few years. Growing public support and awareness on the benefits of medical marijuana have helped turn the tables with a positive note.
As legalization continues to spread, it’s also caused a reduction of cannabis prices around the country. Recreational consumers and medical patients alike now have access to cheaper weed than ever, without sacrificing quality. There was a time that the prices of marijuana skyrocketed, though the prices are stabilizing now. This isn’t necessarily good news for farmers and mom-and-pop cannabis brands, but the price of top-shelf weed continues to stay high.
Cannabis brands and dispensaries are turning to fun, interactive digital mediums for marketing. The initial investment for these types of marketing is no doubt costly, but it will pay off in the long run because customers love them. Think bright, interactive instagrammable walls but inside dispensaries? Being able to see videos of cannabis farm footage in dispensaries? Learning about cannabinoid and terpene content through AI or 3D? Marketing mediums of the future are right here, right now in the cannabis industry.
As we learn more about cannabis and the various cannabinoids and terpenes it contains, we will see that CBD and THC are not the only valuable compounds in the plant. There has been a rise in interest in other cannabinoids that have proven to have therapeutic benefits, resulting in breeders working to create strains that contain more of certain cannabinoids.
Some cannabinoids that we’re starting to see more of include THCV (tetrahydrocannabivarin), CBN (cannabinol), and CBC (cannabichromene). CBN is a compound that is produced by the marijuana plant the more it ages, which has been found to have potent sedative and anti-anxiety properties. THCV is known for the short but more powerful high it yields, as well as its promising appetite-suppressant properties which can come in handy for people who are trying to lose weight. CBC shares many properties with CBD, particularly its lack of psychoactive effects and its myriad of therapeutic benefits. However, CBC is more abundant in the marijuana plant, which makes it easier to produce more of.
Researchers are also studying other terpenes, and we’re starting to see more terpene-focused products on the market. We expect to see significantly more of this in 2023.
There are many things to look forward to in the cannabis industry by next year. These are just some of what we expect to be popular across the nation.
Which is your favorite forecasted trend for next year?