President Biden is voicing his support for the federal decriminalization of marijuana. As of April 2021, 35 US states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical use. Sixteen of them permit adults to use the drug for recreational purposes legally.
This has helped the cannabis and hemp industry grow at a fast pace. Lawmakers and policymakers are reforming marijuana laws across the country. People now have greater options for using the drug (medicinal and recreational).
More importantly, retailers see the market opening up. There’s been a noticeable increase in the production, manufacture, and sale of hemp-based products. This is a green signal for entrepreneurs, investors, manufacturers, and researchers.
Needless to say, change is imminent.
So what can consumers and retailers expect this year? A recent blog published in Green Entrepreneur has the latest updates.
Hemp Products Will Flood the Market
As hemp use diversifies, the industry will experience tremendous growth this year and beyond. There has already been a considerable jump in the availability of hemp-derived products. Options include CBD oils, oral sprays, pills, and edibles like gummies and lollipops.
But as research on the use of different parts of the hemp plant continues, there will be a greater variety of products in the market. And it will go beyond medicinal and recreational use products.
Researchers are looking into the use of marijuana in the manufacture of textiles, paper products, biodegradable plastic alternatives, geotextiles for building materials, and much more.
However, this trend will expand in the coming years as laws encourage the legal adoption of cannabis. So the public will witness more use cases of hemp-derived products on a large scale.
Hemp farmers and cultivators are already preparing for this anticipated increase in consumer demand. And entrepreneurs are busy creating products to satisfy customer needs.
But the marijuana industry is still young. Anyone looking to enter the market needs to research opportunities and understand where the money is. For example, potential farmers and cultivators are investigating the effects of using higher quality seeds to produce higher quality plants.
Similarly, business owners are searching for new business ideas and focus on what customers will want to buy.
Millennials and Gen Z Will Become Favored Customers
For any business owner to make a profit, they must be able to engage with a target audience successfully.
Over the past years, research has shown that the cannabis industry has active consumers in every age group, from the Baby Boomers to Generation Z. Studies also suggest that these sales trends are likely to continue across all segments.
However, analysts suggest that entrepreneurs in the cannabis trade should mainly focus on age groups with the fastest year-over-year growth. At the moment, that means efforts should be directed towards millennials and Gen Z consumers.
Analysts explain why this is so.
Millennials and Gen Z are the next generations of customers. These people are growing up in an era where stigma around the drug is quickly dissolving. So they have considerably less of a mental barrier towards marijuana use than those of individuals belonging to Baby Boomers and Gen X. Moreover, they are also more open to marijuana use.
Millennials and Gen Z are trendsetters for countless industries. And the marijuana industry is no different. Recently, retailers saw a boom in vape and shisha lounges among these groups. So the doors of cannabis bars and lounges will almost certainly open up in the coming years. And as more laws are created to support the recreational use of cannabis, more social spaces will also pop up to allow its consumption.
A different category of investors is entering the cannabis industry.
High-profile figures such as hip-hop stars Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube, former NBA all-star Chris Webber, and actor Seth Rogen are just a few names.
But investors and entrepreneurs are quick to notice that Millennials and Gen Z are greatly influenced by celebrities, such as actors, musicians, social media influencers, and sports stars. That is why major corporations like Nike and Gatorade employ these public figures to sponsor their products.
While cannabis brands have not gone this route just yet, it seems highly possible in the near future.
Shift in Consumption Behavior
The cannabis industry continues to adapt to change. And it’s more than simply the effects of supply and demand.
Like every other industry, consumer behavior has a significant impact on the cannabis market. For instance, the reliance on marijuana products to ease anxiety and stress has grown considerably in the US.
In fact, countless patients are now searching for alternative remedies outside of traditional medicine. Several renowned medical practices are beginning to prescribe cannabis to treat various ailments and conditions.
Furthermore, as the market matures, the availability of marijuana products has also increased. And with laws supporting recreational use, low-dose cannabis products are more popular than they were before.
That means there will be a rise in awareness and safety around marijuana. To help users manage their consumption of the drug, companies will need to carefully measure and mention the amount of CBD and THC on the label of their products. This will help people regulate their consumption of the drug.
Currently, feelings about marijuana and the stigma of its use are changing at a breathtaking speed.
As people learn more about the drug and its apparent benefits, they have become more accepting of it.
Marijuana companies have raised billions of dollars over the past decade, and this trend does not appear to be slowing down any time soon. In fact, with large companies like Corona and Marlboro (the cigarette maker) buying multibillion-dollar stakes in the cannabis industry, forecasters say that this is more than just a temporary wellness craze about CBD.
And once the federal government changes its guidelines, it won’t be long before marijuana enters the mainstream.
So it’s time to let cannabis have its moment.