The Green Market Report asked some cannabis industry leaders what they think 2019 will bring for their companies and for the landscape in general.
Sam Dorf, Chief Strategy Officer, Verano Holdings
It will be another year of tremendous growth and opportunity for the cannabis industry with the following:
- We will see a tidal wave of states following the lead of legalized states and Illinois, New York and New Jersey, whose newly elected and key officials support legalization. Key drivers are recognition that cannabis prosecution disproportionately impacts minorities; awareness that cannabis is not a gateway drug; studies showing legalization can help reduce opioid addiction and deaths; and cannabis-derived tax revenue.
- We expect the pace of cannabis companies listing on public exchanges will accelerate even more in their quest to access capital. This, in turn, will fuel rampant consolidation and growth.
- With consolidation, we will see the beginnings of the first real national cannabis brands.
- California’s tighter regulations and policing of non-compliant operators presents an opportunity for national operators, like Verano, who have been waiting on the sidelines, to tap into the world’s largest cannabis market and operate like they do in other states
Mitch Baruchowitz, Managing Partner, Merida Capital Partners
We see 2019 in 2 distinct ways: The Rise of the Consumer, and the Rise of the Product. With a more developed consumer data landscape, companies will start focusing on the type of products offered. This will drive and be driven by segmentation of patients/consumers into more defined verticals. As that occurs, blurry lines on why people are consuming cannabis will become more clear, which will allow research and data to accelerate and further product specification to occur. When that happens, we will see the Rise of the Brand as companies compete in the defined segment-this might be more a 2020 phenomenon.
Erik Blakkestad, Client Relations, Electrum Partners, LLC
Capital raised by cannabis-related companies will triple from $13.8 billion to over $40 billion in 2019. The primary driver will be a dramatic increase in funding of ancillary businesses supporting the industry coming from perennial venture capital epicenters Silicon Valley and New York.
Dylan Summers, Director of Government Affairs, Lazarus Naturals
“If the recent explosion in popularity of hemp-derived CBD is any indication, the zeitgeist of cannabis seems to be trending beyond mere tolerance to overall acceptance. Being championed by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Rand Paul (R-KY), the language legalizing hemp in the 2018 Farm Bill has something which seems to be a rarity in today’s political climate: nearly unanimous bipartisan support. The fact that cannabis is being realized for its potential is resolutely a step toward lending practical and legal credence to the plant. As hemp and its products becomes continually more accessible it is only a matter of time before the optics of cannabis overall is changed from back-alley-indulgence to a serious resource for supplementing a health-forward lifestyle.” –