2019 Global Outlook The Future of the Cannabis Industry

Overall, 2019 is set to be a year when investors start looking for results from cannabis picks in Canada, while the US is expected to continue to gain momentum from key policymakers. As a result, investors may be motivated to pay more attention below the border.

But that’s just the tip of the icebergs with regards to what we can expect in the year ahead. Read on to learn our global outlook of the Cannabis industry in 2019. But before we dive in, let’s take a quick look back at what made the past year so memorable.

2018 saw major improvement for the global cannabis industry. The pace of legalization and technical innovation picked up speed exponentially and shows no signs of slowing down. So what can we expect for our rapidly growing cannabis industry in 2019?

Three major trends standout for the next year:

  1. Legalization
  2. Innovation
  3. Industry Oversight
LEGALIZATION

Much of the buzz last year surrounded movement of the industry in the United States and Canada. For good reason – Canada is now five months into full federal legalization, 32 states in the USA have legalized medicinal use, and 10 states and Washington, DC boast legal recreational use.

The cannabis industry in the United States reached a significant milestone in reaching conservative states that are historically deeply resistant to legalization. Michigan became the first Midwest state to legalize recreational use for adults. Utah, Oklahoma, and Missouri – three of the most conservative states in the US – all approved measures in favor of medical marijuana for select patient groups.

Conservative states coming on board with legalization signals a change in the perception of the cannabis industry in the United States. Colorado will enter its seventh year of recreational legalization in 2019. In that time, Colorado, as proven the cannabis industry, is not only profitable in the short term, but also viable and sustainable in the long term.

Midwestern states are typically the last to join any progressive movement, so with states like Michigan approving ballots, the industry is very close to overcoming the last vestiges of cultural stigma. Vermont’s landmark legalization by the legislature and the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill legalizing hemp growth are two considerable hurdles overcome on the journey to federal legalization.

Countries in Europe, Asia, and Africa are quickly moving towards the legalization of cannabis.

The top four countries to keep an eye on in 2019:

  • Luxembourg: this tiny European nation is on the verge of being the first country in Europe to legalize cannabis for recreational use.
  • Israel: Export of medical cannabis is expected to begin in mid-2019 to countries around the world, including Australia, Germany, Austria,and Mexico.
  • South Africa: one of the most globally well known African countries already allows private use, but all signs point towards a continued discussion on broader legalization.
  • Australia: Many individuals in Australia now increasingly support recreational cannabis legalization, with the support rate increased from 26% to 35.4% from 2013-2016.

INNOVATION

Historically, smoking was the main method through which an individual experienced cannabis. Now, the possibilities seem almost limitless. The industry will continue to see innovations in the experience of cannabis in 2019.

Agricultural research and development mean the strength and effect of a cannabis strand are virtually customizable to the person. Industry improvements allow for the manipulation of THC and CBD levels in ways that could not have been imagined ten years ago.

Each technological stride opens a new potential market to the cannabis industry. The once relatively simple, easy to please consumer has developed a complex palate that demands variety and quality.

The key demographic for 2019 is the millennial consumer. Millennials are known for their ability to make or break an industry depending on their perception of its value and affordability. Cannabis industry leaders should expect (and encourage) exploration of new products and methods of delivery, and continue to work towards mastery of the methods already available.

Consumption methods to watch:

  • Edibles
  • Drinks
  • Oils and creams
  • Vaporizer juice

INDUSTRY OVERSIGHT

One of the greatest advantages of widespread legalization of cannabis is the ability to invest in research and development. The medicinal benefits of cannabis are well known, but scientists and engineers now have access to resources that will revolutionize our understanding of cannabis’ properties.

However, the flip side is the behemoth of Big Pharma now has eyes on the industry and how its growth may affect Big Pharma’s own profit margins. Decades of strict regulation and exhaustive research give the pharmaceutical industry the undisputed upper hand.

The rise of the non-smoking consumable market requires the cannabis industry to pay close attention to food safety laws and regulations. The purity of product is of the utmost importance to maintain the required levels of sanitation for legal food products.

It will be crucial for the cannabis industry to continue staunch support of well-substantiated research, to drive continuous improvement in both agricultural and retail safety, and to nurture professional business practices at all levels.