Once associated primarily with “hippies” and other people your parents didn’t want you to hang out with, marijuana has become a big business and more acceptable within society. It’s a major industry in the U.S., from the sales of medical marijuana to the explosion of products containing CBD.
With that growing acceptance, several key trends are starting to form and will undoubtedly dominate conversations about cannabis and all of its associated products in the New Year. As we move into the last year of the decade, check out some of these cannabis trends to watch.
Cannabis on the Menu
The idea of marijuana in edibles is nothing new, but the notion of ordering something at your favorite eatery that contains cannabis is. According to a report on restaurant trends for 2019, there is increased interest among consumers from all demographics in ordering cannabis-enhanced food and drink — and many restaurants are taking notice. The majority of eateries are relying on cannabidiols (CBD), a chemical that natural occurs in marijuana but doesn’t get the user high. Instead, items containing CBD are being marketed for their health benefits, most notably less anxiety and stress. You might not see CBD on the menu at your favorite wings joint right away, but don’t be surprised when it shows up at independent bakeries and cafes, especially those focusing on natural foods.
CBD Continues to Gain Steam
Speaking of CBD, as more consumers begin to realize its health and wellness benefits, the market is set for major increases. Often sold as an oil, cream or drops, CBD has been called the new “it” drug thanks to its proven benefits in helping relieve pain, anxiety, seizures and more. It’s even infiltrated the pet product market, with more pet owners using CBD to help their animals deal with anxiety and solve behavioral issues.
Unlike marijuana, CBD only contains trace amounts of THC, so it doesn’t create a high, making it appealing to consumers across the spectrum. Unfortunately, the laws are still murky regarding CBD, despite its wide availability, but the popularity and effectiveness of the hemp-based product has many lawmakers looking at new legislation regarding the drug. Expect to see a lot more about this in the coming year, and if it is legal in your area, consider trying CBD-infused products to help with your own ailments.
Not the Same Old Cigarettes
While the popular image of cannabis users is the smokers, blowing out plumes of pungent smoke (thanks, Snoop Dogg), the fact is that smoking is becoming the least popular way of using marijuana. That doesn’t mean there isn’t still a need for nice glass pipes for smoking herb, but the options for people who want to use but don’t want to smoke are expanding.
Edibles continue to grow in popularity; in Canada, where marijuana was just legalized, experts predict that the edibles market will be two to four times the size of the smokable marijuana market within a few years. Even more disruptive, however, is the development of cannabis-infused beverages. Several brewing companies, including Constellation Brands (the makers of Corona) are working on new products, which are expected to overtake edibles and smoking as the preferred way to use pot.
Marijuana Becomes a Solid Investment Choice
As legalization of cannabis expands, so does its potential to be a player on the stock market. Several major brands are expanding their capabilities and moving into new market sectors; for example, one large grower is expanding its extraction facilities to develop more concentrates as well as expanding its development of alternatives. Other companies are creating new partnerships (see the Constellation Brands partnership mentioned previously). As domestic and international demand for marijuana products increases, expect investors to take notice and for stocks in this sector to increase.
Legalization Continues to Expand
Canada made headlines in October when it legalized marijuana throughout the country, and a growing number of states are changing their laws to expand the legality of pot for both medical and recreational use. Michigan legalized the drug in 2018, and New Jersey is expected to legalize recreational use in 2019. Illinois, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Minnesota are all expected to consider legislation within the next 12 months.
These are just some of the ways that cannabis and cannabis products will be making news in the coming year. Until then, look forward to raising your glass of pot-infused beer and welcoming 2019.