The resilience of the cannabis industry has been tested by the economic downturn over the past year, despite once being seen as resilient or “recession-proof.” Challenges such as oversaturation of the market, public safety issues, and federal inaction have impacted the industry. However, it remains one of the fastest-growing industries globally, with projected revenues of $32 billion this year, adult-use markets emerging in four more states, and public support for legalization at an all-time high.
The industry is at a watershed moment, with legalization being inevitable. It presents a rare opportunity for the industry to choose whether it will be on the right or wrong side of history.
In contrast, the cannabis industry’s invincibility was challenged in 2022, as it became a patchwork of individual state markets with varying saturation levels. The surge in robberies and violence at dispensaries has made it difficult for businesses to survive. However, despite these challenges, 2023 is looking bright with increasing public support for legalization and technological innovations. The industry is making great strides to ensure that cannabis is afforded the same tools as every other legal industry, and now automation is helping retailers stay afloat. With ACE Kiosks and cannabis vending options, expenses can be cut. Want to know if it’s legal in your state?
Despite the challenges faced by the cannabis industry, there are positive signs for 2023. According to a November Gallup poll, almost 70% of Americans support the legalization of cannabis. Moreover, the number of Americans smoking cannabis has surpassed tobacco smokers. By 2030, there will be 71 million cannabis users, generating $57 billion in sales.
Politically, there have been significant wins in 2022, with Maryland and Missouri legalizing recreational cannabis. New Jersey and New York City have also granted their first licenses, creating two of the most prominent upcoming markets. Several other states are scheduled to legalize or hold referendums on cannabis legalization in the coming year.
President Joe Biden’s recent call for federal agencies to review cannabis’ classification as a controlled substance presents an opportunity to advocate for lower scheduling and remove the 280E tax burden from cannabis companies. It is also crucial to urge policymakers to approve the SAFE Banking Act, which permanently halts penalties on financial institutions providing banking services to legal cannabis entities.
As we approach the normalization of cannabis in our society, we must work with policymakers to replace outdated regulations to reap the benefits for our communities and society. The industry is on the brink of transformation, and we must seize this opportunity. We must speak up and advocate for the transformative impact cannabis can have on our industry and communities with a unified voice. 👊