What an exciting moment to be a part of the cannabis business, or to explore the possibility of doing so! Congress has presented various marijuana-related proposals, including ones to decriminalize it federally, while state legislatures debate legalization. In 2022, recreational legalization measures were approved by voters in Rhode Island, Maryland, and Missouri. As more and more states work toward the implementation of cannabis programs for adults, it is natural for us to speculate about what the year 2023 may bring. We’ve put together a list of predictions from people who are experts on this subject matter. We hope this helps answer some questions as well as give you some insight into where things may go in 2023!
Cannabis may be legalized or decriminalized under President Biden
I predict that President Biden may make a move to legalize or at least decriminalize cannabis at the national level. He has already passed new legislation that allows companies to become research facilities and to provide approved labs with cannabis for research more easily. The next step would be to rectify the banking situation at a national level, greatly reduce criminal penalties through decriminalization, or even increase tax revenue through federal legalization and taxation! Approaching the 2024 election, these are popular policies that see support on both sides of the aisle.
Warren Harasz, VP of Compliance of Cannabis Consultancy Cannaspire.
In terms of product predictions for 2023, I expect to see the market for cannabis infused beverages grow exponentially and outpace the growth of other product categories. There is currently the perfect convergence of many factors that will help drive that growth: the general growing popularity of craft cocktails and hard seltzer, the growing number of “canna-curious” consumers combined with the easy transition from a glass of wine or beer to a cannabis cocktail, the recent development of new technologies to make cannabinoids water soluble which will allow more diversity in cannabis beverages, and the growing number of cannabis companies offering lower concentration THC drinks – again to attract a broader consumer market of those who simply want to enjoy cannabis like they would a cocktail.
Sean Mack, Co-chair of the Cannabis and Hemp practice at Pashman Stein law firm.
We will start to see more diverse cannabis products catering to a more multicultural audience, especially when it comes to edibles and beverages. This will be a result of cannabis entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds and ethnicities continuing to enter the space. I’ve already started seeing it be celebrated in New York, and see this trend trickling throughout North America.
Anne Forkutza, Head of Strategic Growth at Dutchie, an all-in-one technology platform powering the cannabis industry.
I think that next year we will see movement on Safe Banking and an uptick in the cannabis industry that will continue building up to a 2024 announcement from the DHHS regarding rescheduling. (knock on wood)
Nick Richards, Partner and Co-chair of the Cannabis Law practice group at Greenspoon Marder law firm.
I think that Federal prohibition of cannabis in the US will continue in 2023 further preventing much needed research on the cannabis industry’s environmental impact. This will also further prolong the development of solutions to minimize those effects. However, with more markets opening, additional State regulators (and companies within their borders) will step in to fill some of these data gaps and also require cultivation facilities to meet specific energy standards, as is the case in Illinois and Massachusetts.
Timothy T. Burdge, National Cannabis Team Co-Leader at Syska Hennessy Group, a full-service engineering firm.
Cannabis will become even more widely accepted as daily life through an increase of welcoming dispensary environments, experiential lounges and event based opportunities (in many cases these spaces will be integrated creating a holistic experience). The newer, higher design will create familiar types of spaces and experiences welcoming an ever widening customer base.
Rachael Grochowski, Founder and Principal of RHG Architecture + Design, a full service Architecture, Interiors, and Custom Furniture Firm.
I expect to see increased industry consolidation in 2023 as the mostly smaller, cash strapped companies look for merger partners as an alternative to liquidation and as a result the larger, profitable companies will be able to acquire quality assets at steeply discount price and continue to grow bigger, expand their footprint and product offerings. This will be especially acute in the more established markets, like California.
Michael D. Schwamm, Partner at Duane Morris, and recognized by Chambers USA as one of the top cannabis lawyers in 2022.
I predict that the Northeast US market will begin to flourish as the State of New Jersey welcomes hundreds of new cannabis license holders and the State of New York finalizes its regulations to welcome the new legal Adult-Use industry. I also expect passage of the Safe Bank during the upcoming Congressional lame duck session.
Fruqan Mouzon, Partner at Fox Rothschild, and focuses his practice on cannabis law, litigation and regulatory compliance
With the election of Josh Shapiro as Pennsylvania’s Governor Elect I predict cannabis will be legalized in Pennsylvania in 2023. There is now bipartisan support in the PA State House and Senate to get this done.
Jim White, President & CEO of Cannabis Consultancy Cannaspire.
While paid media continues to be the most underserved channel in the marketing mix, market maturation and saturation will require marketers to leverage advertising now more than ever to differentiate their brands and reach new consumers at scale. Email will continue to be the most reliable channel for direct communications with your communities and customers.
The people have spoken and want to BUY WEED FROM WOMEN (Jasmine Mans). Women-owned and led brands and businesses will receive upticks in funding, partnerships, acquisitions, and conscious consumer choice.
Cannabis culture is going to become ever more integrated into our holistic identities. I expect to see cannabis brands and accouterments sparkling on red carpets, fashion runways, gift guides, and get-this-fit lifestyle looks.
Amy Deneson, Co-Founder of the Cannabis Media Council.
With New York successfully rolling out the first round of adult use retail cannabis licensees, we are very excited for 2023. We are hopeful and also determined to have our own Happy Munkey retail dispensary become a reality next year. We are positive that New Yorkers are going to love the high quality cannabis grown from New York’s cultivators and that products will fly off the shelves. New York’s program is very unique and we are confident the rest of the country will be watching the empire state and hopefully we will put the industry on course for full federal legalization within a few years.
Ramon Reyes and Vladimir Bautista, Co-Founders of Happy Munkey, a NYC cannabis-inspired lifestyle focused on “Higher End” hospitality and media.
Adult-use cannabis dispensaries will open in New York in 2023. I think this will have a huge impact on how media covers the industry, specifically lifestyle media. New York is the media capital of the world. While writers and editors are clearly aware of cannabis, I think there will be more focus on the plant, cannabis accessories and products once they start seeing cannabis more seamlessly integrated into mainstream NY culture.
Samantha Qualls, VP at Marino, a cannabis PR firm.
With regard to progress in the states, I am concerned about additional states being on board. With cannabis still illegal for federal purposes, the federal government has let the states chart their own course.
And, for the first time, this process is not as rosy as expected with 3 states voting down adult use, and they were North Dakota, South Dakota and Arkansas.
This was the first time this has appeared on a state ballot and been rejected by the voters.
Those states all had very outspoken critics of the proposed rules.
The voting in those states was also affected by a lack of competitive midterm races, which tends to keep younger, more liberal voters from the polls.
It makes the prospect of Red States moving forward more questionable than in the past.
Eric Altstadter, Audit Partner and Chair of the EisnerAmper’s Cannabis and Hemp practice.
Serious plagues such as Hop Latent Virus (HLVd) are now quite widespread among clones and cannabis crops. The cannabis seed business offers a solution and will grow quickly.
Jorge Cervantes, horticulturist, publisher and writer specializing in cultivation of medical cannabis.
Cannabis beverages will begin to gain the market share they need thanks to increased and better manufacturing, distribution and sales efforts. Consumers are still learning about this category, and cannabis beverages will continue to tap into broader consumer trends towards decreased alcohol consumption.
With more West Hollywood hospitality lounges slated to open in 2023, and Las Vegas finally awarding its consumption lounge licensing, the industry has a new model to explore in onsite consumption. All eyes will also be on New York, which will be offering consumption licensing as well. These accounts will be great supporters of the burgeoning beverage category.
Rachel Burkons, Co-founder of Altered Plates Hospitality, a culinary cannabis hospitality group.
The cannabis market is expected to expand. A few holdouts are to be expected, but ultimately, more states will join the trend toward legalization. More people will use it more often if it’s legalized, and that means more business for those who take the time to learn about the industry and enter this expanding market.
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