Top 17 Predictions for the Cannabis Industry in 2022

What an exciting time to be in the cannabis industry or looking to become part of it! With major areas of the country developing adult-use cannabis programs in 2021, it can make us wonder what 2022 and beyond has in store for us. However, how long it will take and what that road will look like is a question we all want to know. 

We asked 14 cannabis industry experts that are in the trenches working with cannabis businesses, legislators, and networks what they think will come next here’s’ what they said:

Sustainability, equity and consumer awareness of where, who, and how cannabis products are produced will become a much greater factor in how customers choose products to purchase.

More than two thirds (70 percent) of Americans are at least sometimes influenced to purchase products based on a company’s ethics. However, lack of consumer awareness thus far of the differences between small business owners, and large MSOs, the need for social equity as we transition out of the racism of cannabis prohibition, and the rising carbon footprint due to the legal cannabis industries growth of energy intensive indoor production capacity has contributed to an indifference thus far towards ethical consumerism in the cannabis industry. As newly legal states such as NY, NJ, & CT each make solving these issues a major part of their goals for the new industries in their state, these issues will be discussed with greater occurrence in the public’s eye. It is likely that as this trend continues, companies will also start to label and brand their products further towards promoting ethical consumerism.

Matte Namer

Matte Namer, founder and CEO of Cannabeta, the first New York and New Jersey cannabis realty firm

There will be no meaningful federal reform in the U.S.A.

I predict there will be no meaningful federal reform for the Cannabis industry in 2022 and 2023. The US House of Representatives continues to pass several cannabis related bills with reform and they get stalled in the Senate. With President Biden’s approval rating in the 30% range and Democrats gearing up for a bad election cycle result in November, the stall will unfortunately continue to drag on at that the Federal level.

Jim White

President & CEO of Cannabis Consultancy Cannaspire

Mergers & Acquisitions will increase. There will also be a push for lower cannabis taxes.

As more states legalize, I believe there will be more M&A in the industry as MSOs try to increase their footprint and expand capacity in their current locations. As the industry grows, we could see M&A deals related to the purchase of brands and intellectual property.

The push for lower cannabis taxes will increase

On the black market in New Jersey, 1/8 can be purchased or for $30-$38. The same flower can be purchased legally at a dispensary for $40 (medically) and $43 (adult use). Over the course of a year, it could add up to a $300 to $700 savings. It’s a lot of money to some people. Enough for a purchaser to choose the black market. While Washington state has a high tax rate (37%), retail prices there are less than New Jersey. The total cost for the same product in Washington ($35+37% sales tax = $47.95) is basically the same price ($48) in Massachusetts because while the retail price is greater, the sales tax is lower (20%). It will be interesting to see if states continue to impose additional taxes when cannabis is federally legal.

Stacey D. Udell

Principal and Director of Valuation, Litigation and Forensics for the Mid-Atlantic Region of HBK Valuation Group, an accounting firm with a dedicated cannabis department

Adult-Use Domino effect on East Coast

With NJ, CT and NY getting their adult-use programs up and running it will push PA, DE, MD and other east coast states to begin looking into their own adult-use programs to follow suit

Federal Reform

Not on a full scale level of legalizing but if they can get passed some of the bills that they have been discussing (SAFE Banking Act, MORE Act, CLAIMS Act) it can truly change how cannabis operators handle their day to da

i: For what we do with insurance, the CLAIM Act (Clarifying Laws Around Insuring Marijuana) would allow more insurance carriers to begin offering insurance coverage to cannabis companies, which will provide more options and drive down the current cost for insurance

Consumption Lounges ​

I do believe consumption lounges will be the next step for cannabis operators but I also believe it could create reputational & liability issues for the industry as the first person who leaves one and gets into a serious accident will set the precedent for the repercussions for those operators

Max Meade

Cannabis insurance advisor with Brown & Brown Insurance

Social Equity programs will start to deliver

Many states have talked a big game about social equity. I think 2022 is the year to see states start to deliver. New York’s Governor has pledged $200 million to boost social equity efforts.  NY is being very aggressive with awarding the first round of conditional licenses to applicants with prior marijuana related offenses. I think we will see a change in 2022. Cannaspire is giving back to social equity applicants by donating one security plan per quarter. As a certified woman owned company, we see the value in giving back and the importance of diversity and social equity.

Tracey Kauffman

Founder and Chairman of Cannabis Consultancy Cannaspire

Prediction of which states will legalize

The transition of medical to adult-use states on the east coast will provide a huge lift for the industry overall. CT & NJ will be the first to flip the switch. NY will be next.

Scott Berman

President & Co-Founder at The Panther Group, an advisory firm specializing in the cannabis space

Consumers of cannabis will demand more products from craft producers

We are already seeing increased demand for higher quality craft products and I expect that trend to continue upward. I expect the consolidation in the industry to continue over the next 12 months at least and the larger companies will likely struggle to meet that boutique demand. We have seen some of the well-established operators in Florida take “reserve” flowers to market with good results but I suspect that would be difficult for many MSO’s. I am seeing an increased interest in markets like California which have historically struggled for outside investment and I think the consolidation and quality dilution are part of that.

Christopher T. Marrie

Principal in the Naples, Florida office of HBK CPAs & Consultant

Banking rules will continue to relax

I don’t expect any headline-grabbing changes. However banking regulations will continue to loosen, allowing the cannabis industry to expand at a reasonable pace.

William G. Roark

Principal of Hamburg, Rubin, Mullin, Maxwell & Lupin and chair of the law firm’s medical marijuana practice

NY's first adult-use, social equity-managed dispensaries operate by 2022

I predict that we will see the first adult use, social equity managed dispensaries open up in NY by the end of 2022. I know that seems fast, but the OCM is committed and so are the people of NY State!

Jill Scher, CPA, MST

partner in the Tax & Business Services division of Marcum LLP, one of the first national accounting and advisory firms to create a cannabis industry practice

Expansion of Pennsylvania cannabis market

In the next 12 months, Pennsylvania’s medical market will continue to expand its patient base, M&A activity will continue to be strong in the Commonwealth, and we will see a viable adult-use bill.

Meredith Buettner

Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Cannabis Coalition, a trade organization comprised of Pennsylvania medical marijuana permit holders

Florida industry growth in terms of employment and good economic impact

My predictions for the next 12 months are:

There will be massive growth as far as jobs and positive economic impact in Florida because I believe they will go recreational this year.

New Jersey will continue to delay the response on the applications for cannabis licenses in the state, BUT this may be for the better. I believe this will give us time to scrutinize and advocate for better legislative terms for those that are applying for these licenses. The barriers to entry and long list of criteria that state applicants must fit into in order to even be considered for a license, make it abundantly clear that the ones making the rules are vastly unaware of the effects.

Among others, these would be the two most predominant ones I believe/hope will take effect in the coming months!

Daniel Demetz

Sales Representative at Across International, the leading manufacturer of cannabis businesses heat treatment and material processing equipment

New Jersey will remove its prohibition on the use of edibles

My prediction is that the New Jersey adult-use cannabis market will lift its ban on edibles within the next year. In Hawaii, when the law first passed, there was a great deal of concern over children getting ahold of edible cannabis products. The patient outcry was substantial and, following trial approval and there not being any significant exposures of children to these products, the market won and the ban was lifted. Edible sales can make up almost 30% of dispensary retail sales in some states, so this is really important for happy consumers and successful cannabis businesses.

Warren Harasz

VP of Compliance of Cannabis Consultancy Cannaspire

Don’t expect to see any cannabis progress on the federal level

I don’t expect there to be any progress on the federal level, not even piecemeal, during this presidential term. The current president has been unable to even pass legislation that would benefit middle America, and his administration’s cannabis policies are decidedly negative and in their own words, “unchanged” from when he took office, despite his campaign promises. Moreover, with political polarization at a high, contentious issues like cannabis simply face no pathway forward, and most politicians are not likely to go out on a limb for cannabis reform with their next elections fast approaching – while plenty of people now support reform, a huge contingent of voters still do not, especially on the Republican side. The best we can hope for right now is that piecemeal legislation will start to chip away at the obstacles to business such as the SAFE Act to allow banks to service cannabis businesses. While I don’t see any of the wholesale legalization bills that are floating around out there passing, Republican Senator Mace’s States Reform Act is very appealing and takes a common sense approach to cannabis legalization, regulation, and governance, with a low taxation and big boosts to business such as taking DEA out of enforcement, permitting bank and tax relief, and allowing businesses to trade on the NYSE. These types of business based arguments, particularly if pushed by Republicans, will see the greatest light of day and possibility for passage for the substantive reform we all need for cannabis to realize its potential as an industry. 

Lisa L. Pittman

Cannabis & Litigation Partner at Zuber Law, a law firm that has represented leading cannabis clients for over 15 years

Marijuana will not be legalized at the federal level in the next year

I don’t believe cannabis will be federally legalized in the next year. I know there are a lot of hopes and some optimism but it’s obviously not currently a priority for the fed. What I think is going to happen, is that the president is going to sit on this until we come around to the next election cycle. Then cannabis legalization will become a major talking point again, to be used in an attempt to get re-elected. There were a lot of promises made prior to the 2020 election that have come to nothing or in some cases, actually gone in the opposite direction. I think this will continue until it’s time for the next election when the topic will be addressed with promises again. Until then, I expect that nothing will change.

Teresa Kearney

Vice President of Sales for Panacea Payroll, a payroll, human resources, and workforce management solution provider for the cannabis industry

While we can’t fully predict the future, we can certainly aim to make the best decisions possible in the present. Those that partner and interact with professionals that can fill in the missing informational pieces will be best positioned to make the right decisions today regardless of which direction the industry moves in. 

If you are looking to get involved in the cannabis industry and would like to learn more about your state’s cannabis programs please click here. Whether you are looking to strategically enter the industry at the right time, future-proof your business against future compliance mandates, technology, security needs Cannaspire can assist you from application to expansion. Learn more by viewing our main website.

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