The cannabis industry is heading into a new green era, one that has been a long time in the making. From the early days of criminalization to the current boom in legal markets, the journey has been a hazy one, to say the least.
Now is the time for entrepreneurs and investors alike to step back, take stock of the progress made thus far, and waft away the smoke to clear the path to the future. The green renaissance is just beginning, and those who can see past the fog of uncertainty will be the ones to shape the industry’s future.
In the United States, the national criminalization of weed started with The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. Several decades later, however, during Richard Nixon’s administration and his “war on drugs,” marijuana became more deeply rooted in cultural, political, and historical contexts.
For instance, during Vietnam War, marijuana was associated with youth counterculture and anti-war movements. At that time, the general public viewed the plant as only for “no-good rebels” who sought to overthrow “the establishment.”
Culturally, marijuana has been depicted in art, literature, and music for centuries. As a result, the plant has become entrenched in popular culture, from Bob Marley’s reggae music to comedy films like “Cheech and Chong,” “Pineapple Express,” and “Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle.”
Despite shifting attitudes and perceptions, marijuana has maintained its place in popular culture and has increasingly garnered recognition for its medicinal and therapeutic properties. Thanks to the efforts of innovators, cultural icons, and motivated advocates, it’s safe to say that the plant has now gone fully mainstream.
Today, the cannabis industry is barely past its infancy; we have just learned to walk and are slowly but surely wobbling our way forward. The early baby steps were grounded in destigmatization efforts, cultural impact, and political advocacy. Now, regulation and legalization are being fleshed out as states move forward.
Venture capitalists, startups, and business executives are a captive audience to the ongoing clash between global economies and inflation. As spectators with a monetary stake in the outcome, business leaders are considering the impact of a potential loss and reconsidering their moves. This recalculation has led many to question whether the cannabis market’s once-blazing growth is ending, despite the evergreen trend of states legalizing weed.
However, a recent report from New Frontier Data suggests that the hype surrounding the cannabis market is far from over, predicting that the global legal cannabis market will climb to new highs and is estimated to reach $496 billion by 2025. Although some may doubt the cannabis market’s future, the data tells a different story.
The Green Renaissance
A global focus on the impact of climate change and sustainability initiatives is changing business practices within several industries. In terms of branding, the cannabis industry has a golden — or rather, a green — opportunity.
The adoption of eco-friendly practices in the industry will not only align with the focus of consumers but can also help our bottom line. Cannabis is already a natural product, and small changes like switching from plastic-sealed packaging to biodegradable and compostable options can lead the industry to consider their environmental impact. Collaboration in these efforts is crucial to building and catering to a growing consumer base.
According to Investopedia, adapting to a fast-changing and complex legal landscape, banking challenges, as well as recent rate increases by the Federal Reserve may make it more difficult for cannabis companies to raise capital for future growth. But by pooling their efforts regarding product development, companies can uplift the industry as a whole.
In addition, working together to find medicinal uses in the lab can provide key evidence for states or regions still skeptical about considering legalization. Still, the availability of cannabis-infused products, ranging from gummies and tinctures to balms and creams, highlights this plant’s immense potential.
The pandemic opened up innovation in the delivery options available for consumers. Finding new ways to cater to specific consumer needs is critical to the continued success of the cannabis industry. With stories of the medicinal power of cannabis-based products, heading into the lab and working to discover ways to utilize marijuana to impact consumers positively is a win-win situation for all.
The cannabis industry is at a critical juncture, presenting challenges and opportunities. Companies and entrepreneurs embracing eco-friendly practices, driving new forms of cannabis use, and product development are pulling ahead and differentiating themselves in a changing cannabis market.
As we move forward into the green renaissance, those who can see past the haze of uncertainty and embrace a mindset of collaboration will be the ones to shape the industry’s future.
Jorge Olson is the co-founder and CMO of two publicly traded companies, Hempacco, (HPCO), and Green Globe International (GGII). Olson was born in Tijuana, Mexico, without running water or electricity, hurdling buckets of water across a block several times per day. Now, Olson is the author of business and inspirational books, as well as an authority on consumer packaged goods, beverages, and wholesale distribution. His partners include super-entrepreneur Sandro Piancone, Cheech and Chong, James Linsey, Rick Ross, and Snoop Dogg.