Top Seven Cannabis Industry Trends of 2022
Published on 7/14/22
We know that the cannabis industry has been rapidly changing over the past few years as more and more states legalize cannabis, and it doesn't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. Legal cannabis products were sold in record numbers amid an unprecedented global pandemic, cannabis is as popular as it's ever been, and legalization has spread throughout the U.S. to the point where one in three Americans live in a state where recreational cannabis is legal. But the best has yet to come when it comes to legal cannabis!
This year is poised to be a real gamechanger regarding legal weed. More and more state-level lawmakers are proposing bills to legalize some form of cannabis. Still, there's legislation on the table to legalize federally from Democrats and Republicans and legislation in the works to allow legal cannabis businesses to use banks. Simply put, it's pretty much indisputable that a positive step in the right direction will be taken when it comes to legal weed in 2022.
So with that in mind, we here at Where's Weed wanted to highlight some trends for those paying keen attention to the legal weed landscape this year. This article will break down exactly what consumers have to look forward to, what they should expect from the brands and industries as a whole, and what trends to keep an eye on as they take trips to their local dispensary!
1. Cannabis Flower's Marketshare Will Shrink
Gone are the days when people's only access to cannabis was via sketchy burnouts selling dime bags full of stems and seeds on the corner. These days, cannabis consumers can legally pick up concentrates, tinctures, pills, creams, vape cartridges, infused oils, and cannabis-infused soft drinks and treats. Just by the nature of the industry's growth, there are so many options for consumers to pick from.
Cannabis flower is often the least convenient and discreet way to consume cannabis, and we've already seen a shift towards edibles and cannabis-infused beverages for younger consumers.
Don't get us wrong, we certainly think that cannabis flower is here to stay for a long time. But consumers might opt for other options in 2022 more often than they have in the past!
2. Cannabis-Infused Beverages Will Keep Growing
Speaking of young people opting for non-cannabis flower ways to enjoy their weed, let's talk a bit more about infused beverages. The global cannabis-infused beverage market is estimated to be a whopping $2.8 billion by 2025, mainly on the backs of younger, most health-minded consumers. In fact, research shows that college-aged people are drinking less and instead choosing cannabis over a trip to the bar. It seems to be an overall societal trend of shifting away from drinking, and towards cannabis, so tasty and easy-to-consume cannabis-infused beverages are the obvious benefactors here.
In a few years, young adults might be waiting to get into a dispensary on their 21st birthday instead of a bar!
3. The Federal Government Continues to Stall on Legalization
Despite promising steps in the right direction when it comes to legal cannabis on the federal level, like expanding decriminalization and normalization of cannabis use in mainstream society, we have our doubts that a federal legalization bill will pass in 2022.
Despite bills from both Republicans and Democrats that would legalize cannabis nationwide, we think there's still too much opposition from within the federal government for it to be a realistic possibility. Take the President, for example.
While President Joe Biden has claimed that his administration would push through policies to decriminalize and deschedule cannabis, there's been no movement on either front during his time in office. In the meantime, five White House staffers were fired for admitting to smoking weed at some point in their lives, and dozens were "suspended, asked to resign or placed in a remote work program."
Simply put, we don't see federal legalization in the cards for 2022. The state level, however, is a whole different story.
4. States Continue to Lead the Way on Legalization
All of the progress we've seen when it's come to the legalization of cannabis has come via state-level actions. Whether it be ballot initiatives, the establishment of recreational and medical programs, or just grey areas in the law that have yet to be properly enforced, states have done the vast majority of work regarding legalization. We don't expect that trend to change in 2022.
States like Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nebraska, North and South Carolina, North and South Dakota, and Ohio are all proposing legislation to legalize in 2022, and those are just the ones that have taken action so far.
Simply put, we expect this year to be a good one when it comes to state-level cannabis legalization efforts. It will continue to expand and evolve the worldwide legal cannabis scene like it has for the past two decades!
5. Products Will Get More Niche
As the cannabis industry continues to grow and evolve, we will see products and brands settling into their respective niches. We'll see a rise in small-batch, carefully-curated craft cannabis strains and products, while others prefer mainstream product brands' predictability and constant availability. It will be much like the craft beer industry, except with plants and cannabis strains instead of craft and homebrewed beers.
6. New Research is Coming
Despite cannabis still being federally illegal and research on the substance being limited at best, 2022 is going to be a good year to better understand how the cannabis plant interacts with our bodies. One area that's likely to grow by leaps and bounds in 2022 is flavonoid testing, research, and its role in impacting the cannabis you're using. We fully expect to know much more about flavonoids and the way that they affect what cannabis consumers are using by the end of 2022!
7. The Continued Rise of Delta-8 THC
Like it or not, we don't see Delta-8 going away anytime soon. Since recreational cannabis is still outlawed in many states, it only makes sense for consumers to look for a legal way to get high without having to risk jail time to do so. That's where Delta-8 comes in.
Despite researchers not knowing too much about the potential health impacts or long-term risks of Delta-8, compared to the well-studied Delta-9 THC found in standard cannabis products, many states have already moved to ban the substance. Others are waiting in limbo since Delta-8 is technically legal since it's derived from hemp.
Despite all of this, however, we don't see Delta-8 slowing down in popularity anytime soon!