There’s no denying the cannabis industry is seeing a huge boom in the U.S. right now. More than half of states currently have some form of marijuana legalization and, CBD and hemp have been federally legalized. In two and a half to six and a half years, there is a very strong chance it will reach full federal legalization. In the meantime, 2019 will be a pivotal year for the cannabis industry, shifting everything from the job market to our overall societal perceptions. Here are five key ways you can expect to see the cannabis industry evolve this year:
Greater Acceptance, More Mainstream Use
The recently passed Farm Bill, which gave way to the nationwide legalization of industrial hemp, will be crucial in driving greater acceptance, awareness, and understanding of cannabis products. With hemp prohibition ended, the doors open for hemp-derived CBD to enter more mainstream channels of distribution, such as Amazon and even your local grocery store. CBD is now right there on the shelf next to your favorite multivitamin or dietary supplement. With millions of eyes on the product, new conversations are being sparked and minds are opening. People are no longer fearful; they are curious! Education and awareness are leading to acceptance, which is spurring incredible product expansion and innovation. From CBD dog treats to massage oils to smoothie mixes, CBD hemp oil is fast becoming an entirely acceptable, mainstream product. And, as the social stigma around hemp CBD continues to dissipate, you can also expect a see a greater open-mindedness toward all cannabis products, from CBD with THC to cannabis extracts.
New Partnerships Between Originating Cannabis Brands and Mainstream Business Players
As originating cannabis brands are welcomed into the mainstream market, we will likely see more and more of them either partner with or become acquired by more mainstream business players. Rather than compete or go it alone, traditional business owners, entrepreneurs, and investors who are interested in the cannabis market will work in collaboration with original cannabis entrepreneurs in order to stay competitive. Already, we are seeing cannabis-infused skincare, feminine products, and more. And, as more of these partnerships are formed, with each party sharing their unique expertise, we are certain to see even more product innovations and the entrance into still more markets. You can expect the most successful companies will be those who find the right balance of original cannabis culture and professional processes and procedures.
As acceptance of and accessibility to cannabis products grow, we will see greater demand, which in turn, will lead to job creation within the sector. The marijuana industry is expected to account for 250,000 new jobs by 2020 and we can expect to start seeing these opportunities emerge in 2019, according to New Frontier Data. The opportunities will reach a wide range of demographics as well, with qualifications ranging from highly specialized to entry level. The types of jobs will include budtenders, trimmers, growers, cultivation experts, managers of dispensaries, sales executives, creative directors, and corporate CEOs. Already, the cannabis industry job boom has outdone both the tech and healthcare industries in recent years, according to ZipRecruiter. We can expect this trend to continue into 2019.
More Data-Driven Decisions
With so many doors opened, cannabis companies will have access to data they never had before. Things like tax revenue numbers, medical studies, and sales reports, will create a fundamental change in the way both cannabis companies and regulators make decisions. We will now have key numbers and projections, as well as scientific data that will impact usage and dosage, all of which will help those within the cannabis industry to make more informed numbers-driven decisions.
An Overall Softening Toward the Cannabis Industry from the U.S. Government
With new awareness, a reduction in social stigma, more mainstream business practices in place, and supportive data and research, we can expect to see cannabis move one step closer toward full federal legalization. The next move will quite possibly be the decriminalization and removal of Marijuana as a Schedule 1 substance. Once this roadblock is lifted, we will see cannabis treated less like an illicit drug and more like a legitimate medicine. This will lead to more research, which in turn, will lead to still more understanding, acceptance, and the eventual normalization of cannabis products.
While there is still a ways to go, cannabis is currently the most socially and governmentally accepted it has ever been. With that in mind, the grass is looking even greener as we continue into 2019.