Nine years from now seems like a long time away, but the cannabis industry is quickly progressing on a global scale. In the United States, 17 states allow medical and adult recreational use and 21 allow medical use. A handful of states remain on the sidelines. Outside the U.S., 47 countries allow some form of medical or adult recreational use.
Current industry research shows consumer demand for cannabis products is on the rise. With all the preceding factors in play, what will the cannabis industry look like in 2030? Here are our predictions based on trends and research.
Various cannabis reform proposals and initiatives are on the table this year, with the SAFE Banking Act likely to pass in 2021. The SAFE Banking Act is a precondition for federal legalization of cannabis, so we can expect national legalization to occur in the next several years.
When federal legalization occurs, cannabis companies will operate under the same regulations and expectations as those in established, legalized industries. Just think of the impact this will make on supporting industries that currently only dabble in the cannabis industry. Insurers, banks, law firms, CPG companies and a host of other industries will delve into new cannabis-related business lines. Federal legalization will allow law enforcement to spend more time on serious crimes and alleviate overcrowding in the prison system. Court dockets will get lighter since prosecutors won’t bring cannabis-related charges.
As a country, we have already seen how medical cannabis positively impacts people with conditions like epilepsy, PTSD and chronic pain. Federal legalization will allow further research and development into viable medical treatments for a host of other ailments.
The DEA has already moved toward increasing research licenses, and the federal government will likely include cannabis as part of the budget process for future appropriation of R&D dollars. These steps will unlock the full potential of the cannabis plant and hopefully lead to treatments and cures for an array of diseases. Israel has been leading the world in cannabis research over the past 20 years. If all countries contributed to a global R&D effort, the potential discoveries could be endless.
The legacy cannabis market continues to supply the majority of products to consumers today. But since money motivates in this society, states will soon recognize the tax windfall that could be realized with federal legalization. In the early days, states that legalized cannabis saw significant tax revenue increases, which help financially support state programs. Over the next nine years, we will see all states benefit from new tax revenue from cannabis. As this happens, the tax rate on cannabis will need to be reduced to compete with the legacy market.
When a state is considering legalizing cannabis, tax revenue for social equity programs in communities impacted by cannabis-related crimes almost always becomes a topic of discussion. Community reinvestment should include supporting job placement, adult education and housing initiatives. Measuring the impact and change to these communities as new funds materialize will provide very informative data that shape future programs.
Over the next nine years, cannabis will become part of our open social fabric. Not only will cannabis no longer be taboo, but it will also become a commonplace entertainment option. Home parties will feature buffets with cannabis-infused edibles and drinks. Once people experiment with all the available options, their consumption habits may change. They will find cannabis use a better alternative to painful hangovers from beer and spirits. Additionally, published research indicates that cannabis use leads to reduced opioid use, further destigmatizing the consensus view of the plant.
It’s no secret that cannabis prohibition has its roots in outdated belief systems and policies. As each state legalizes medical and adult recreational use, we see the call to reverse wrongful and nonviolent prior convictions for cannabis-related offenses. In fact, programs like will be built into the foundations of these laws as the country begins to address the lasting negative impact of the war on drugs.
Hospitality, Tourism & Events:
In recent years, we have already seen an increase in cannabis-related tourism and travel. From “bud-and-breakfasts” to bus tours and everything in between, cities and states that allow adult recreational use are offering creative ways to introduce tourists to cannabis. In the future, we’ll see this become a bigger part of the mainstream. Consumption lounges will offer new environments to gather and enjoy a host of cannabis products. By 2030, canna-tourism will be a new entertainment category, with expertise from veteran cannabis tour and travel pros that will allow the experience to reflect a regional or cultural flare.
No one can tell what the future will hold, but cannabis will play a large part in our lifestyle and positively impact our overall wellness and relationship with the planet and one another. We look forward to seeing how the landscape changes in the coming years. Whatever happens, it will certainly be for the better.
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