August 14, 2019

Cannabis Legalization – 9 Experts Make Their Prediction

It’s a brave new world – cannabis legalization in US is spreading. Of course, it is still a controlled substance on the federal level, but an increasing number of states are aligning with voter attitudes and choosing to either legalize or decriminalize cannabis. In fact, recent polls have shown that more than half the country is in favor of legalizing cannabis. This is unequivocally a good thing.

For activists and reformers, this has been a long time coming and it’s starting to feel as if federal legalization may come sooner than anyone expected. But what will happen next? How will this affect the industry specifically as well as society at large?  We’ve asked experts to weigh in and give their predictions, and they have pointed out that post-legalization there will be a sea change throughout the country. 

Some of the clear positives include legitimization of the industry, easier access to medicinal cannabis, billions in tax revenue, effective regulation of product quality, and entrepreneurial opportunities. The sky’s the limit – these are exciting times that merit innovative and bold thinking, and our experts lay out some of the exciting opportunities coming down the pipeline. Read on to see what they have to say!

Lucy Rose
Founder at

How do you think things will change for businesses and consumers?

I think in terms of consumers there will be more protection granted under federal cannabis legalization.

We will be able to move forward with things such as organic certification for cultivators and more oversight by the government creating more stringent testing allowing for consumers to feel better about the products they are consuming.

I think the federal government will also step in and regulate the cannabidiol (CBD) market getting rid of companies that are providing false information about their products, and producing products that do not have the amount of plant medicine they claim in their bottles.

There will be more legitimacy to the cannabis market once legalization takes place.

With federal cannabis legalization, unfortunately, I foresee many smaller companies being pushed out of the space and those with more funding taking over.

We are already seeing that take place in legal states where largest companies are setting up shop in CO and then replicating their business model in another legal state making it harder for smaller companies to compete.

What financial and legislative implications will there be? What new products might be released and how big could the industry grow?

The big players will be able to compete in a federally legalized market.

However, we may see mom and pops surviving for a longer duration if federal banking opens up for their usage.

Right now companies are self funding making it difficult for startups to play the long game especially with the high taxes these companies are paying to stay in business.

We are already seeing so many new products enter the market on a daily basis the sky is really the limit!

Who knows what innovative products are coming down the pipe line and already in the works in legal states that we don’t know about.

I think this industry has the ability to overcome the tobacco industry and perhaps much farther down the line the alcohol industry.

I think we are living in an era where people are realizing the habits of past generations aren’t necessarily the best strategy moving forward and we need to re think how we are taking care of our mind, body and spirit.

Cannabis plant medicine has the ability to provide us with natural healing if we take into account our own individual routines, diets, and mental health.

Jessie Gill
Founder at

How do you think things will change for businesses and consumers? What financial and legislative implications will there be? What new products might be released and how big could the industry grow?

Federal cannabis legalization is only way to get all patients the medicine they need. Legalization will dramatically increase patient access to flower.

However, while looking at legalized states also makes me worry that federal legalization could create a consumer mindset in the industry which is unlikely to prioritize patients.

In areas like Colorado and Massachusetts legalization has not been ideal for patients. Most have an increased access to flower (which is great) but unfortunately, patients have also reported a diminished access to many therapeutic products like live resin.

While products less therapeutically preferred products like isolates and distillates seem to flow freely from dispensaries.

Hopefully, after federal cannabis legalization, we instead see a flurry of whole-plant products come to market. I’d love to see enhanced delivery methods like inhalers.

Federal legalization will save cannabis-related businesses a great deal of time, money, and stress making it easier to open and operate a cannabis-related business.

We just have to hope, the industry doesn’t abandon patients in pursuit of profits.

Most importantly, federal cannabis legalization will save many from being unfairly targeted and harassed over a beneficial plant.

It will stop arrests that continue to plague disadvantaged communities. Hopefully, there will be a social justice component incorporated into federal legalization that ensures those from communities targeted by the drug war finally benefit from the booming industry.

Jessie Gill, RN is a cannabis nurse with a background in holistic health and hospice. After suffering a spinal injury, she reluctantly became a medical marijuana patient then quickly transitioned into an advocate. Her site, teaches new patients how and why to use cannabis while challenging the stigma against marijuana use. Jessie is an established expert in the cannabis industry. She’s spoken at conferences around the country and has been cited by publications such as High Times and Forbes. Her work has been featured on Entrepreneur, Good Housekeeping, MSN, and more. She’s been seen on Viceland and has received international press coverage.

Rob Turner
Director at The Hemp Garden Ltd

How do you think things will change for businesses and consumers?

The powers that be need to recognise the fact that the cannabis plant and the right to use it should be considered a human rights issue not a criminal one and the potential benefits to humanity are huge.

We can see a large influx of big-corp and big-pharma investment into the sector which will potential push small independent business out of the market due to economy of scale, however we hope that this doesn’t happen.

We hope that like the alcohol market, there will always be scope for small independents to offer excellent products at reasonable prices but only time will tell.

What financial and legislative implications will there be?

The financial implications would be astronomical.

Billions would be generated in tax alone, without even mentioning the hundreds of thousands of jobs it would create within an industry that people clearly want to see.

Jennifer Caldwell
Partner and Technical Lead at

How do you think things will change for businesses and consumers? What financial and legislative implications will there be? What new products might be released and how big could the industry grow?

Consumers will benefit from a regulated industry with checks and balances. Increased product evaluation and 3rd party verification will encourage consumer awareness.

Retail will benefit from consumer confidence. Banking and tax will significantly improve access and security of products through federal and state banking.

Health and wellness products will give dynamic new category growth to the boomer generation. Lifestyle and recreational type products will be most appealing to millennial segment.”

Jennifer has been actively involved in the cannabis sector since 2013. She has worked on over 60 Licensed Producer applications including successfully obtaining the first new ACMPR license, issued to Peace Naturals in 2013.

Dr. Elise Ho
CBD Educator and Entrepreneur at

How do you think things will change for businesses and consumers? What financial and legislative implications will there be? What new products might be released and how big could the industry grow?

With cannabis legalization we will see a huge growth upswing. This upswing will bring many new companies on the markets and, as these things go, an eventual thinning out of the market so that almost all that remains are your reputable companies with the purest products.

With the growth, consumers will have a wonderful medicine from nature available to them.

In the coming years, we will see an expansion of CBD in to many more products such as massage lotions, sex lube, body-care products, face creams and more.

Food products will also continue to grow to include CBD in many available products such as water, pre and post workout drinks, chewing gum, candy and so much more.

Honestly, the heath potential and the industry growth potential is astronomical. This is the exact reason that my wellness practice now includes a CBD product line that I absolutely trust.

Mason Walker
Co-Owner and CEO at

How do you think things will change for businesses and consumers? What financial and legislative implications will there be? What new products might be released and how big could the industry grow?

After a long, painful, failed War on Drugs, most signs point to an impending end to cannabis prohibition in the U.S. That said, the shift will likely continue to be iterative, moving state-by-state until the federal government opts to amend the Controlled Substances Act, or offer a clearer path for states to create adult-use programs.

According to New Frontier, a D.C.-based cannabis economics thinktank, only 18% of U.S. cannabis sales in 2018 were taxed, meaning a vast majority of the country still doesn’t have access to state-regulated cannabis products.

Many publicly traded cannabis companies, including the largest Canadian firms, are anxiously awaiting larger regulated markets, particularly in the U.S. As more states implement adult-use programs, well-funded multi-state operators will continue to aggressively carve out market share, making it increasingly difficult for independent smaller operators to compete.

Personally, I’m excited at the opportunity cannabis legalization offers to help right some of the wrongs perpetrated by the War on Drugs.

States like New York and New Jersey hit the brakes on legalization in order to re-assess and re-prioritize including social justice and equity provisions in their new markets.

This is a promising step. Cannabis has far-reaching cultural impacts, both good and bad, that will continue to shift communities, markets, and social norms.

The New Frontier study that assessed the 2018 cannabis market pegged U.S. retail sales — both taxed and untaxed — at roughly $19B. As more regulated markets come online, this number will likley grow considerably, particularly as more people experiment with cannabis-containing products as the plant continues to be normalized and integrate further with mainstream markets and products.

Mason Walker is Co-Owner and CEO of East Fork Cultivars, an Oregon craft cannabis and hemp company. He also serves as Treasurer for the Craft Cannabis Alliance.

Brent Williams
Managing Member at

How do you think things will change for businesses and consumers? What financial and legislative implications will there be? What new products might be released and how big could the industry grow?

Businesses will change in the fact they will become more normalized.

Cannabis businesses will operate similarly to breweries, distilleries, or bars. There will be limited visible differences between a cannabis business and most other businesses.

We predict there will still be regulations and restrictions as to allowable locations, whether or not you can smoke on the street, or whether a town or country decides to stay “”dry”” as some still have with alcohol.

This will be a result of the US Government legalizing but leaving the majority of legislation to state and local government.

Product innovation will come mostly from pharmaceutical businesses.

This is where the least amount of research has been done, and frustratingly few pharma-grade products have been brought to market. The result of this innovation will, however, lead to further acceptance and use of synthesized cannabinoids for medical and recreational applications.

There will be a continued push to innovate edible/drinkable products, but the majority of the recreational market revenues will be split between smokable products like raw flower, prerolls, and smokable concentrates like vaporizers.

We also believe there will be an unexpected amount of growth in the terpene market as well. Terpenes are used in biotech, pharmaceutical, cosmetics, food, and more.

Being both naturally produced and highly prevalent in cannabis and hemp, extracting and isolating rare terpenes is an untapped market.

Chris Boucher
CEO at Farmtiva Inc.

How do you think things will change for businesses and consumers?

Based on Hemp CBD Science and marketing combined along with new research we are going to see a whole new generation of hemp consumers finally it will be in every grocery stores, health food stores, clothing, across the US.

What financial and legislative implications will there be?

Everyone one is awaiting wall street to accept the billion dollar hemp industry, up listing to Nasdaq or IPO.

Once the big banks understand hemp CBD is approved by FDA there will be the hemp rush.

What new products might be released and how big could the industry grow?

I believe it will be massive in the food sector proteins, juices, flavour houses, construction products, plastics.

Jennifer Culpepper
Founder at BrandJoint

How do you think things will change for businesses and consumers? What financial and legislative implications will there be? What new products might be released and how big could the industry grow?

Whether based on public opinion or the trend of state legalization, federal cannabis legalization certainly looks inevitable—more likely a question of “when”” than “if.”

Federal legalization has the potential to provide many positive benefits: the resentencing or expungement of prior non-violent marijuana-based convictions, equitable patient access to medicine, and consistent guidelines for consumer safety regulations and compliance, to name a few.

When federal legalization does occur, I anticipate a massive corporatization of the industry.

We’re already beginning to see the emergence of “Big Marijuana,” where large multi-state operators are merging or acquiring smaller state license-holders and successful product brands. The race is on for who can get biggest fastest.

But, that doesn’t mean it’s over for the “”little guys!””

We often hear about the comparison to the craft beer industry, and I think there’s a solid connection. Just like craft beer or artisanal food consumers, cannabis consumers are developing a sense of connoisseurship with their flower and products.

While some may choose strains based on potency, there has been an increased interest and value found in the growing and cultivation processes, as well as terpene and cannabinoid profiles.

When microbreweries and craft breweries started hitting shelves years ago, packaging design made all the difference.

These brands didn’t have the big budgets for product placements and Super Bowl ads.The creative packaging design itself was symbolic of what differentiated craft breweries from “Big Beer.”” Small batch beers were handcrafted and by nature, creative with character and personality. Craft beer told new, engaging stories and created a loyal fan base of enthusiastic connoisseurs.

Smaller, independent cannabis brands have the ability to build those connections on a more personal level than “Big Marijuana” corporations.

We buy a brand’s story just as much as we do the product, because as humans, we want to feel connected. That’s why we’ve seen such a huge pushback on Big Pharma. Consumers don’t feel inspired to purchase products that enrich an already super-wealthy CEO.

I believe that by developing strong brand strategy, independent brands have the ability to really connect with their consumers in a meaningful way. With independent brands, we know (or at least feel like we know) the team behind the brand, we can feel like part of their story, and are invested in their success. After all, it does feel good to root for the underdog.

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