No matter your position in the cannabis industry, it’s key to keep up with the trends. The market as a whole is ever-involving, especially considering legal American marijuana is still somewhat fresh to the scene. In the early years of any industry, policies, consumers, purchasing and product availability is quite fluid. Forcing those invested to stay ahead of the game in order to achieve success.
To help keep you in the know, we’ve compiled the latest trends in the industry from those involved, and an outlook of what’s to come in 2021.
A New ‘Green’ Wave
In light of the necessity to stimulate economies, States are favoring to support legalization more than ever before. This election cycle, marijuana legalization broke records with South Dakota being the first state to legalize medical and recreational use at once. Joining four other states approving legalization efforts, too. The change is seen firsthand by those directly involved in the industry, like Moose Mady, VP of Digital Marketing at MJ Wholesale who supplies packaging nationwide. At the company, leaders see the industry shaping like other similar markets. “As soon as marijuana becomes federally legal, the ever-changing trends will be similar to that of tobacco and alcohol, with each state having its own spin on the federal law,” Mady shared.
Most notable of the states still seeking to approve medical or adult- use cannabis are New York and Texas, both of which have been staunchly against the initiatives thus far. Since New York is home to nearly 20 million people, it could quickly make the state one of the
biggest recreational markets across the Nation. This trend for widespread legalization stems from the growing public support of cannabis consumption in general. Now, a majority two-thirds of US citizens favor legalization as they become more educated on the plant’s therapeutic and beneficial effects.
Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right
With legalization comes state and federal efforts to reverse wrongs into rights with an increasing amount of social equity programs – a trend that’s not surprisingly fueled by marijuana advocacy groups. The highlight on ‘legal weed’ has cast a shadow on those who have been incarcerated for small possession amounts or infractions. Especially since incarcerations or felony convictions can keep the highly diverse group of individuals out of the now-legal game.
To work towards a more ‘just’ industry, social equity initiatives are on the rise from state to state, most actively in the longest-standing industry of California. Each program offers incentives to previously charged ‘criminals’ to become new cannabis company business owners by offering reduced application fees, or relaxed licensing requirements – which Cali brands like Bear Extraction fully support. Kelsey Parker, a rep for the company shared, “We hope better support will be created so that social equity programs can have an impact on allowing minority business owners to participate on a broader scale.”
Elevating Points of View
In the last year, there’s been a 140% increase in users who have consumed cannabis for the first time. Industry experts are crediting access to information and higher forms of education as the reason why. Not to mention, the majority of doctors at 76% support the medical use of the plant.
With an overwhelming surge to move towards ‘wellness’ or holistic and organic lifestyles, consuming weed just makes sense. Especially as a stress-reliever, as anxiety and stress are at an all-time high. With this in mind, many dispensaries and cannabis brands are pivoting customer service strategies and marketing campaigns to focus on the facts of medical use and research.
Edibles, Topicals, Capsules, oh my!
Gone are the days where only cannabis flower or pre-rolls can be purchased from licensed dispensaries. Over the years, concentrates, vape pens and edibles have begun to gain popularity versus traditional consumption methods. But now, the industry is seeing a whole new set of products hitting the shelves. Meaning that in 2021, there will be diverse product expansion within the cannabis industry.
Again, as consumers become more thoughtfully aware of the medical and beneficial effects of marijuana, the more favorable they are to use it. Those who are health-conscious may shy away from traditional ways to ‘inhale,’ but they’re more apt to try a THC-infused product without having to puff, puff, pass. Derek Green, co-founder of CannaBizTrend.com has seen this shift first-hand, saying, “Dabs and oils seem to be losing a little steam. I see edibles staying steady throughout 2021.”
Beyond edibles, in the last few years, the following cannabis products are becoming more readily manufactured and accessible to everyday consumers:
- THC or CBD capsules
- Cannabis-infused topicals
- Cannabis-infused hair and beauty products
- Cannabis-infused beverages
- THC or CBD transdermal patches
- THC or CBD suppositories
This trend is on the rise, as canna-brands have already noticed a shift in purchasing. Parker with Bear Extractions shared their outlook on the industry saying, “We will begin to see more products, plus brands and marketing, geared towards women cannabis users. [The industry] will begin to see an uptick in the availability of cannabis beverages, too.”
The New Cannabinoids on the Block
Speaking of THC, CBD and widespread research and information – it’s not the only cannabinoid that’s highly sought after now. Industry experts are seeing a growth in products that feature other minor cannabinoids that can have major benefits when consumed. For instance, some say CBG could be the next CBD, while CBC and CBN are trending just the same. On the flip side, consumers are discovering more about the individual effects of THCa, and THCv, too.
Whether non-psychoactive – or not – the more studies that dive deep into the effects of minor cannabinoids, the higher the demand grows for products that contain them. What helps is research that shows 60% of current consumers in legal markets are using cannabis for health benefits alone. This trend indicates that we’ll continue to see a rise in both research, and development, along with consumer purchasing as goods become available.
Paving the Way for Pot Platforms
The rise in online services is no surprise, but it’s just recently starting to infiltrate the cannabis sector. As most businesses seemingly went ‘off- site’ in 2020, the rise of technology in dispensary and retail storefront operations became a necessity. Now more than ever, online menus for dispensaries are available, with delivery or curbside pick-up options just like any online store.
In addition, brands are pivoting to customer communication tools via email and text to stay in touch and nurture loyalty. On the supplier side, automation and softwares are increasingly becoming available to cultivators, processors, manufacturers and retailers alike. Helping to streamline the process for compliance, optimal growth, and consumer purchasing.
Where Money Does Grow on Trees
Along with legalization comes movement on federal approval for marijuana money to matter more. Meaning…soon cannabis businesses could have the availability of federal backing for general banking, and for processing payments. Until now, marijuana businesses have had to navigate financials in a gray area that prohibited running their operations like others. For 2021, if the SAFE Banking Act is passed, brands should expect valuations to rise and investments to grow.
Becoming ‘legit’ financially also means that general business practices from other industries will continue to infiltrate the grassroots cannabis sector. As the industry moves as a whole towards becoming federally recognized, its brands and companies will have to transition from more organic strategies to mainstream mantras, a trend seen so often by current owners in the biz. “The main trend we see is a lack of professionalism,” says Mady of MJ Wholesale. “Right now the industry and those who run it are so green, they don’t understand the fundamentals of business.”
Cannabis – A Growing Industry
Cannabis industry growth is only inevitable with high demand, progressive policy reform and innovative technologies that are streamlining processes and pushing out new goods. The buzz surrounding the cannabis sector has current marijuana business leaders, and new cannabis companies alike, looking to diversify their operations from the high competition.
If you’re thinking of getting into the game, or think your brand could use assistance with a competitive edge – it always helps to have a proven expert by your side. Think about Coyle Hospitality when seeking to grow your marijuana business. Our industry experts have the experience to improve your operations, keep you ahead of the trends and on top of your niche.