2020 turned out to be a big year for cannabis. At the close of the year, 15 states or roughly 30% of states have legalized recreational weed. This momentum is bound to continue in 2021, and there are increasing developments that might propel the industry forward in the new year. Expect to see more state legalizations as state governments realize the opportunity for tax revenue and with those changes in state and local regulations, more lifestyle, and more strain innovation in the cannabis market. Read on for our 2021 predictions for the cannabis industry.
Legalization may actually make it on the ballot.
In December of 2020, the House of Representative passed both the MORE Act, which calls to fully de-schedule cannabis, and the Medical Marijuana Research Act. The approval was largely symbolic, since neither bill will be considered by the Senate in this session of congress. The measures seem to have broad bi-partisan support, but with a new administration entering the White House, it will have to be reintroduced and pass the House again, as well as the Senate. With control of the Senate hanging in the balance due to the Georgia Senate runoffs (predictions currently favor the Democratic party candidates, but margins are incredibly slim), this one is harder to predict, but regardless of who controls the Senate, it seems clear that more funding for research will be allotted.
Lifestyle brands will expand and continue to draw attention.
Cannabis lifestyle brands continue to attract attention and grow, especially when they are backed by a celebrity following. CBD is typically the culprit here, and with packaged ready to drink CBD beverages like Recess hitting actual store shelves in some markets, and THC enhanced Canna acquiring financial backing from celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, it’s only a matter of time before more cannabis lifestyle brands take off. It seems like the market is saturated from the outside, but it’s still anyone’s game.
Rare cannabinoids will become more widely commercially available.
With increased interest and consumer education in cannabis, more pot lovers are seeking out strains with rare cannabinoids for specific effects. Hence, more cannabinoids Like CBD before them, more strains will be bred to have higher concentrations of CBG, THCV, and CBC for treating glaucoma, tumors, and other antioxidant and antidepressant qualities. This wall be nascent in 2021, but expect it to trend long term.
CBD regulation will be delayed.
The FDA will continue to update its guidelines on CBD, but the rules on CBD will be delayed by the changeover in presidential administration. It’s likely that even though the Biden administration will be staffed with appointees who support legalization, there’s a near zero chance that they won’t want to go over the outgoing administration’s work with a fine-tooth comb. This could cause delays to the end of the year or beyond.
This could be the year that New York finally legalizes weed.
Currently California is the largest cannabis market in the U.S., but that could change entirely if New York legalizes cannabis in 2021. Legalization was already on the ballot in 2020, but was delayed due to complications related to the pandemic. However in 2021, flush with a new budget and unwilling to see tax revenue flow to the other side of the river to New Jersey, where cannabis is now legal, New York could instantly become the largest market in the country, which could mean over $300 million in tax revenue over time.
Also they won’t be the only ones.
Now that 30% of states have legalized cannabis, it’s only a matter of time before more states fall in line, and from there, the legalization could occur in masse. This could mean billions of dollars worth of tax revenue, more consumer choice, and more regulation over the long term.