The 2010’s were a decade where perception of cannabis radically changed, especially in the US. A growing acceptance of the positive benefits from cannabis has help push legalization to 11 states & Washington DC across the US and medical marijuana available in at least 30 others. A majority of Americans support legalization and there is an expanding amount of science to back up the health benefits of cannabis. 2020 could be another big year as big money joins the chase, fear of the industry being whitewashed by big corporations and an increased awareness that social justice should be attached to new companies and laws. Psychedelics are following in footsteps of cannabis with slow-growing support to start studying and even legalizing, in small doses.
We decided to chat with Sam Ludwig, President of Aster Farms, Shelby Hartman, Editor-in-Chief / Co-Founder of DoubleBlind, Morris Beegle, Co-Founder & President of WAFBA & Garyn Angel, CEO Magical Brands to get their predictions for 2020.
Garyn Angel, CEO Magical Brands:
How will legalization advance across the US in 2020?
The size of the addressable market has increased exponentially with legalization. Look for edibles and beverages to generate massive revenue in states where these products are available for the first time, like Florida. With 11 states set to vote on the legalization of marijuana in 2020- that would potentially put 85% of the US with some form of legalization.
How will big corporations & private equity impact the legal cannabis/hemp industry?
Once banking regulators and public markets allow ownership of THC assets, the best brands will be acquired in M&A transactions and many more private equity funds will participate at early stages. To date, family offices have fueled the industry's growth, but many new players will be entering the industry in 2020.
Biggest cannabis lifestyle trend to emerge in 2020?
Beverages and healthy infusions are the future. The pot brownie is being replaced with infused soups, sauces and salad dressings. Non-alcoholic CBD and or THC infused beverages will cause alcohol consumption to decline. Cannabinoids are a dietary essential and consumers are starting to understand how to use these products to improve their overall well-being.
The cannabis industry experienced significant shifts and gains in 2019—we shared some high highs and major challenges this year—from the collapse of cannabis capital markets to the huge strides made in cannabis legislation in places like Mexico and Thailand. We have also seen an explosion of hemp-derived CBD products flood the consumer marketplace in the United States as the stigma around cannabis has dissolved (following the passage of the Farm Bill in 2019). Furthermore, leaders from the cannabis industry are beginning to seriously explore the possibilities of psychedelics research in the immediate future. This has been the biggest decade yet for the cannabis industry, and I can't wait to see what the next ten years bring.
Shelby Hartman, Editor-in-Chief / Co-Founder of DoubleBlind:
How will legalization advance across the US in 2020?
Legalization will likely advance on two major fronts: at the grassroots level—with efforts in more than 100 cities and counties to decriminalize psychedelics—and at the federal level, with research out of major universities looking to get psilocybin and MDMA on the market as prescription medicines. We’ve also slowly, but surely been seeing some national politicians make public statements in support of psychedelics, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and presidential candidate Andrew Yang. Hopefully, we’ll see more of this, too.
How will big corporations & private equity impact legal cannabis? Psychedelics?
As we’ve already seen, big corporations and private equity have led to a cannabis industry that is accessible to the few not the many, both from an entrepreneurial and consumer perspective. Mom and pop farmers who have been growing cannabis for decades have been unable to survive amid hefty regulations, while consumers, especially in California, are going back to the black market because it’s more affordable. There’s concern that the same thing could happen with psychedelics, particularly as for-profit companies begin to scope out investment opportunities in the space. It’s hard to predict, though, what’s going to happen. Because of the path cannabis has gone down, there’s a vibrant conversation happening within the psychedelic community to ensure that psychedelics remain accessible.
Biggest cannabis or psychedelic lifestyle trend to emerge in 2020?
Oh gosh! Perhaps micro-dosing? Psilocybin micro-dosing, especially. There’s even a term for folks who only consume cannabis and psilocybin, they’re calling it “California sober.”
Morris Beegle, Co-Founder & President of WAFBA (We Are For Better Alternatives)
There is a simple and common sense approach to hemp and cannabis farming for the future of humanity, and it needs to be honestly discussed. It's time we “really” start talking "End Use" and make THC irrelevant at the cultivation level. THC concentration should only matter when it’s in a product for human/animal consumption at the wholesale/retail/POS level. THC level/concentration should be mainly managed and regulated during processing and manufacturing, not farming and cultivation.
If we're talking grain and fiber applications of hemp/cannabis seeds and stalks, THC is 100% irrelevant. The continuous obsession about THC percentage will go down in history as one of the dumbest things ever.
To all, be highly skeptical of anything the FDA, the USDA, the DEA, the DOJ, and various other governmental agencies have to say in relation to hemp, cannabinoids, marijuana, cannabis, ganja, etc. because their position today reflects what it has for decades, and that is to not allow easy access to a plant that has unlimited benefits to humanity.
I think cannabis momentum is unstoppable at this point. Regardless of any stereotypes that may exist in this space, the cannabis plant will bring more people together for the right reasons than any other current ideology or social movement on earth today. To me, it touches on all racial/human/social inequalities and opportunities that surround us.
Sam Ludwig, President of Aster Farms:
2019 was the year of first-to-market, 2020 will be about quality and transparency. The brands with something to say will be the winners.