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The future of the cannabis industry

The growth in investments in the cannabis industry saw it rise from a total value of $8.5 billion in 2017 to $13.8 billion last year. The industry’s growth is estimated to increase to $23 billion by the year 2022. Cowen analyst, Vivien Azer, projected that by 2030, $17.5 billion in tax revenue will be generated by the industry.

The job market has also benefited from this growth, as evidenced by the number of jobs created. In 2018 alone, an additional 64 389 jobs were created, reflecting a 44% increase from the previous year; this is according to industry experts Leafly and Whitney Economics. This comes at a time when the rest of the job market appears to be slowing down. This upward trajectory is expected to continue with more start-ups being formed and existing companies expanding their operations.

Legalization

In spite of cannabis being legal in various states, it is widely considered an illegal drug in some states and numerous countries across the world. However, there has been a marked increase in the number of people and countries seeking to get it legalized. For instance, in a survey conducted by Pew Research, 62% of Americans would like to have cannabis legalized. This figure has steadily risen from 12% in 1969 to 31% in 2000 and 62% in 2018.

According to the 2018 report by New Frontier Data, if the legalization of cannabis were to take place in all the 50 states, it would support more than 654 000 jobs with this figure expected to reach 1 million by 2025.

There may be more benefits to legalization than people expect. For instance, industry players will gain access to credit facilities from banks, and consumers could have the ability to use other forms of payment and not just cash. Trade will open up not only between states but also internationally as regulations continue to be optimized.

Cannabidiol

Cannabis, thanks to its non-psychoactive natural compound, Cannabidiol, is already considered as a valid option in the treatment of chronic pain or seizures in present-day America.

CBD which is sold as a component in oral sprays, creams, oils, pills or chewing gum is touted to provide relief from pain, a remedy to combat anxiety and depression, and even a compound that could potentially fight cancer.

In marijuana news, we expect to see an increase in CBD-infused products such as drinks and beauty products, making their way to beauty counters and pharmaceutical brands.

Research

With the passage of the Farm Bill in 2014, which eliminated stigma and political barriers related to cannabis, major progress in research could be reported both this year and in the future. Even as passing medical marijuana research legislation continues to face barriers, industry leaders can now better understand how some treatments work through research into individual cannabinoids and hemp.

Technology

Technological advancements will promote change in how marijuana is grown. For instance, the introduction of tissue culture- a process that produces hundreds of clones by using small pieces of cannabis plant tissue- will aid the production of high-yield premium quality marijuana plants with enhanced potency.

Cultivators will now be in a position to control lighting cycles with precision thanks to modern in-door growing lights that utilize the IoT technologies to allow cloud-based remote control.

In the future, the world will see genetic manipulation of cannabis to not only improve specific areas of the plants but also bring out desired makings and effects.

We will see a re-introduction of tinctures– which are liquid cannabis extracts poured through alcohol– that are easily measurable and have fast-acting effects. Vape pens, with the latest Bluetooth capabilities, will gain more popularity as they are discreet and allow users to inhale a controlled amount of cannabis. With the latest pen designs, consumers can not only control their vaping temperature but also activate child-lock using a mobile application.

The consumption of cannabis is expected to take on a new dimension with technological advancements in the extraction of oils increasing CBDs bio-availability. Oils can be infused in soaps and lotions to offer a relaxing and therapeutic effect.

With the advancement in technology, we expect to hear terms such as ‘machine learning,’ ‘blockchain’ and ‘automation’ used more often in marijuana news.

The lack of or limited access to conventional banking services in support of the industry will give rise to a cash-heavy sector, giving way to a lot of fraud and theft. The introduction of cashless systems to address this issue will involve the use of blockchain technology to offer automated and secure transactions.

Marijuana delivery companies such as Eaze and Dutchie are expected to see further growth even as they raise more capital from venture capitalists. In the future, we expect to see the use of drones in the delivery of cannabis with more companies investing in this area.

Bloom Automations, a robotics company, is in the process of building robots to automate the trimming and processing functions in cannabis production. This will improve production capacities and economies of scale.

What do thought leaders have to say?

Alex Milligan, Co-founder, and CMO at Nugg & NuggMD predicted the mass production of cannabis products. This will cause a decrease in prices and an increase in competition. Artisan brands will flourish with a dedicated niche for specialty brands being created.

Niki Romo, Creative Director for KronicSites, predicts that B2C companies such as dispensaries and delivery services will attract customers and grow revenue through mobile apps.

Traditional marketing methods are expected to continue being used as the primary form of marketing. However, with social platforms such as Instagram, which currently do not restrict the marketing of cannabis, other companies such as Facebook are likely to adapt and allow the same.

According to Jake Heimark, CEO at Plus, the next 15 years will see the industry split between medical and recreational marijuana. A small number of cannabis-derived drugs will have passed FDA testing and been accepted by large pharmaceutical companies. Though distribution will be controlled, there will be an increase in the number of companies involved.

Other industries

Products such as lotions infused with CBD oils have reported immense success in the treatment of joint pains and as muscle relaxers. They also offer general health benefits when used as lip balm edibles or mascara.

With 10% of total cannabis sales in California being attributed to the sale of CBD-infused drinks and edibles, it is projected that these figures will continue to rise. More companies are expected to venture into this area.

It has been claimed in the past that marijuana could act as a substitute for alcohol. According to reports, there is a decline in binge drinking in states where cannabis is legal, with binge drinking sessions being held at a rate of 9% below the national average.

Education on cannabis

With more states legalizing cannabis, we in marijuana news foresee an increase in the number of institutions offering courses on cannabis. The industry growth will see an increase in the demand for a workforce with knowledge on growth and value addition of cannabis products. For instance, the University of Vermont is offering courses on cannabis biology and usage, and the School of Pharmacy at the University of Maryland has begun to offer training for pharmacists and technicians looking to work in medical marijuana dispensaries.

The future of cannabis certainly holds a lot in store!

Sources

https://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/111015/future-marijuana-industry-america.asp

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/14/the-marijuana-industry-looks-like-the-fastest-growing-job-market-in-the-country.html

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