- The U.S. marijuana industry was worth 7.1 billion in 2016 and is poised to rapidly reach 22.8 billion by 2020.
- In 2014, U.S. recreational marijuana sales were significantly lower compared to medical marijuana sales. However, with recent changes in the legal climate, recreational marijuana sales are predicted to top medical marijuana sales by 2020.
- Medical Marijuana is now legal in 28 states and Washington D.C., out of which 8 states and Washington D.C. have also legalized recreational marijuana. The list of states and its varying possession limits can be found here.
- “California will begin to see a greater influx of large-scale players, like traditional investors and funds that had been in other industries, now entering the cannabis market,” according to Aaron Herzberg, partner and general counsel at CalCann Holdings, LLC.
2017 is the year to make preparations for 2018, when the Marijuana industry in several newly legalized states will be in full-swing. In particular, California will implement AUMA (Adult Use of Marijuana Act) and MCRSA (Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act).
- “Competition will get tougher for those who try to remain in the grey market,” says Herzberg.
As the marijuana industry becomes more and more brought into realms of regulation, the previously lucrative black market marijuana businesses will suffer major losses if they continue to operate in black markets where marijuana is legal.
- Jeff Sessions, who is strongly against marijuana, has been newly appointed by Donald Trump as attorney general.
“Good people don’t smoke marijuana,” stated Sessions on the floor of the Senate last April. Currently there are a few barriers in place that could protect marijuana businesses, such as the Cole Memorandum and the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, neither of which will be able to prevent federal intervention if Washington D.C. so chooses to. Although there is much apprehension surrounding state versus federal law under Trump’s new administration, a silver lining worth mentioning is that Sessions has been a long time strong proponent for respecting state sovereignty, and Trump himself had pledged to respect state marijuana laws through out his campaign.
- Investors are cautious about touching the plant, but are finding creative ways to support the marijuana industry.
Because of the possibility for federal interference with marijuana-related businesses, many tech companies are resistant to touching the plant. However, Troy Dayton, co- founder and CEO of cannabis investment and research firm The Arcview Group, predicts that businesses are instead finding creative solutions, such as developing ancillary technologies surrounding agritech and home growing systems, branding and marketing, and software and information systems. “I think particularly investing in low- dose products and low-dose brands aimed at non-traditional consumers is a real opportunity,” Dayton says. “And I think a lot of stuff around genetics and testing will be interesting as more states mandate testing.”
- Los Angeles will become the #1 U.S. city leading the marijuana market
In 2016, Los Angeles had reached $2.5 billion in medical marijuana sales, easily overshadowing Colorado’s entire recreational and medical marijuana market. In 2017, Los Angeles is expected to pass an ordinance that will facilitate the proper licensing process of marijuana businesses and pave way for a latent recreational market. The city is leading surrounding cities to create initiatives of their own to open up the recreational industry. According to Adam Bierman, CEO of cannabis management and investment firm Medmen, “Investors have taken notice, too, and capital is flowing to fund local ventures. Expect to hear big news out of Los Angeles in 2017.”
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