5 Things to Expect in the 2018 Cannabis Industry

by: Ali Porras

The time many of us have been anxiously waiting for is finally here. In 2018, we are on the frontline of a movement, and it all revolves around this little miracle plant we call Cannabis. Before Cannabis was given a bad reputation and criminalized in 1937, doctors and pharmacies used Cannabis to treat a wide spectrum of ailments from anxiety and depression to chronic pain, epilepsy, and cancer. Now that the medical need for Cannabis has become hard to deny, and as recreational use becomes more of a socially accepted norm, 2018 is going to be a year to remember. By 2020 it is expected that the weed industry will create an additional 350,000 jobs. Listed below are 5 things to expect in the 2018 Cannabis Industry:

Things to Expect in the 2018 Cannabis Industry1. Banking

One of the biggest concerns for all business owners and potential investors in the Cannabis industry is the banking availability. Originally, banks and credit unions weren’t working with cannabis-related businesses because of federal law risks. According to industry officials, that issue is no longer holding many back. Not only is it becoming easier for Cannabis companies to work with banks and use other banking options, but incoming new ideas are expected to resolve the banking concerns in the market. Leslie Bocskor, President of Cannabis advisory firm Electrum Partners stated, “banking remains a top priority for everyone concerned, and our expectation is that we will see innovation in this space and positive movement during 2018”, with California likely leading this movement. With the uprising of sales and demand, “the new year is almost certain to produce more billion-dollar companies in the Cannabis space”, according to Jim Pakulis, president of Lifestyle Delivery Systems. With the concern of Cannabis business owners having to deal with the risks of cash-only business, industry leaders are proactively searching for solutions such as cryptocurrency.

In regard to stocks, Cannabis stocks have seen enormous growth over the last five years, but because the industry is still relatively new, most stock prices are expected to continuously climb as the market evolves. Canadian marijuana stocks are something to keep an eye on considering that some of the biggest marijuana stock gainers in the last few years have been Canadian. Due to the industry being relatively new, some of the best marijuana stocks to buy are new companies that haven’t hit the mainstream newswires yet. This gives people like you the opportunity to invest in soon-to-thrive stocks for a cheap price.

2. California market with other states on the way

It’s no question that California has had a reputation for having a cannabis-friendly culture for many years, regardless of legislation. In 1996, California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana, which quickly influenced many other states to do the same. In 2018, California begins legal recreational sales, but that does not guarantee that California will dominate the market. Canada will be legalizing recreational marijuana in the summer of 2018, which gives Canada the opportunity to lead the way for US states. In 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize Cannabis for recreational use and are thriving quite well. Currently 29 states have legalized medical marijuana usage and 8 states have legalized recreational usage. With scientifically proven health benefits of Cannabis being discovered every day, and the positive economic impact of Cannabis sales, other states are expected to legalize medical and recreational use sooner than later. With California’s weed economy estimated at $7 billion dollars, taxes could easily add up to $1 billion dollars annually. However, “Expect delays and hiccups for several months after launch in California-” stated Bocskor. “After they get things worked out, the revenues will grow and mission- critical tax dollars will accumulate to the delight of all stakeholders.”

3. Supply Chain Transparency & Rise of Branded Products

Supply chain transparency will be crucially important for any Cannabis-related businesses hoping to flourish in this new year. Transparency has become increasingly important for supply chains, as consumers want to know the origins of the products and services they use. Especially in a market that is recovering from a poor reputation, providing clear product information and Cannabis education will be vital for normalization. Customers will lean towards products that have value added packaging, product ingredients, and clearly stated safe dosages listed. This inevitably reduces production of low-quality products as demand and supply of high-quality branded products challenge existing products to survival of the fittest. Prepackaged flower with personalized branding is an example of branded products you can expect to see more of. Consumers are attracted to companies that have personalized branding, like Flow Kana prepackaged Artisan Cannabis, because of the visual appeal and implications of being reputable. New products like Mandarina by Skunk, a high quality unisex fragrance made from the Mandarina strain of the Cannabis plant, will excite Cannabis product users and will help stimulate curiosity in Cannabis newbies. Other business to be on the lookout for and on the rise are wellness centers that will offer high-end experiences. With leaders in the industry constantly looking for new innovation and laboratories working hard to create the next best strain, mediocre weed will be left in 2017. Sasha Aksenov, CEO of The Blinc Group, predicts “In 2018, consumers will see more branded cannabis products than ever as mainstream brands and celebrities enter the market with new products. As competition increases, so should product quality and consistency”.

4. CBD Products

Cannabidiol, most commonly known as CBD, is a non-psychoactive compound in hemp and marijuana, that is used to treat a wide spectrum of ailments. CBD is the compound that provides most of marijuana’s medicinal benefits, and when 100% derived from Hemp, is legal in all 50 states. CBD has been a treatment used for countless inflammatory and neurodegenerative disorders and in 2015, CBD hit $202 million in consumer sales. With CBD sales tripling since 2014, The Hemp Business Journal estimated that the CBD market will grow to a $2.1 billion market in sales by 2020. In addition, there is evidence that traditional marijuana users are willing to give CBD a try. CBD will be a key tool used to help end the negative views of cannabis because of CBD’s countless natural medicinal benefits. In September 2018, the very first and only CBD Expo dedicated entirely to CBD will be held in Anaheim, California. CBD Pet products have also become high in demand as pet owners discover the health benefits CBD can provide their furry loved ones. CBD pet products gives cautious pet owners the ability to treat the ailment of their pets, without having to use harmful un-natural medication instead. As awareness and usage of CBD products increase, medicinal trust in cannabis will begin to spread like wildfire. With the Hemp Industry Association winning a court case against the DEA (that ruled the DEA didn’t have the authority to ban hemp under the CSA), and it’s strictly medicinal properties, CBD could be the next thing in everyone’s medicine cabinet.

5. High Demand for Holistic and Wellness Products

The normalization of cannabis will be a long process, but along the way we can expect a variety of more products to hit the market. People that are not interested in any psychoactive effects, but desire cannabinoid health benefits, will be looking for CBD products to incorporate in their daily lives. Meanwhile, people that benefit medically or simply enjoy the effects of THC, will be looking for THC products to incorporate into daily life. We will begin to see more products that promote the entourage effect, which magnifies the therapeutic benefits of the plant’s individual components—so that the medicinal impact of the whole plant is greater than the sum of its parts. Types of products to plan to see are: lotions, tinctures, soaps, bath-bombs, cosmetics, teas, chap sticks, shampoos, conditioners, and many more.

Sources: Elliott, S. (2017, December 22). 2018 Weed Predictions From Top Industry Leaders. Retrieved December 24, 2017, fromhttps://herb.co/2017/12/28/2018-cannabis-industry/ 2018 marijuana predictions from top industry leaders. (n.d.). Retrieved December 30, 2017, from https://marimedadvisors.com/2018-marijuana-predictions-from-top-industry-leaders/

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