This week, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee voted 24-10 in favor of the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act — a groundbreaking reform bill which, if adopted into law, would legalize cannabis at the federal level.
The first legislation of its kind to pass a House Committee vote, this bill moves the multibillion-dollar cannabis industry one step closer to a nationwide reach.
With the addition of Illinois back in June 2019, cannabis is now legal for recreational use in 11 states and for medical use in 33 states. And even under limited legality, the industry is booming.
Last year, the North American cannabis industry saw a staggering $10 billion investment with Glassdoor reporting a 76% increase in cannabis-related jobs. BDS Analytics estimates the market for cannabis will reach $23 billion by 2022, with the industry on pace to employ more American workers than U.S. coal or steel.
The end of prohibition means new opportunities for growth and innovation. A few industries in particular are likely to be transformed by the cannabis revolution:
Agriculture — Cannabis growth means a whole new market for American farmers. Beyond the significant demand for THC-heavy marijuana plants, non-psychoactive hemp is historically known for its durability and versatility, able to be woven into clothing, textiles, ropes and cables. Since January 2019 Fast growing and drought-resistant, this cash crop is already gaining traction among forward-thinking family farmers and boutique growers alike.
Natural & pharmaceutical medicines — While medical marijuana is largely sold in its natural form, the pharmaceutical industry has spent years experimenting with extracted and refined properties of cannabinoids. Research has shown a wide range of promising uses for both THC and CBD compounds, from pain control and nerve disorders to anxiety and PTSD. Both naturopathic and western medical practices stand to make great strides as a result of further legalized research and study on the effects of marijuana.
Food & beverage — From both a health and recreational perspective, the alcohol and food service industries are well positioned to capitalize on the complex properties of THC. From marijuana meal pairings to cannabis-infused foods and beverages, chefs and culinary scientists have only just begun to explore this new world of flavors and techniques. And with these new attractions come new opportunities for catering, food trucks, tasting tours, “bud and breakfasts” and other hospitality services.
Manufacturing & retail — The legalization of hemp and other cannabis byproducts means new, eco-friendly sources of paper, fabrics, plastics, building materials, and biofuels. These sustainable, cost-effective resources will have a wide range of implications for businesses from manufacturing, construction, and energy, to beauty, fashion, and more. The sale of new products in any form will create new demands for production, packaging, storefronts and online retailers, which in turn means new jobs in design, sales, and marketing.
Whether your business is well-established or just getting off the ground, the legalization of cannabis will mean new opportunities for growth and differentiation. Those that stay ahead of the curve are bound to reap the greatest benefits.
How will your organization make the most of this new market?