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The dynamic cannabis industry is embracing the challenges of a fluctuating demographic market, complicated regulatory atmosphere, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Sales are tracking ever higher.

The market for cannabis products is evolving from the traditional focus on THC potency, into increased demand for specialty products. The educated consumer, including the growing segment of women and seniors, wants lotions, potions, and edibles. Cannabis is no longer associated solely with inhalation. The health and green movement is global. The pandemic has underscored the imperative of taking care of oneself and promoted an increased interest in health. The industry is responding by increasing the offering of broad-spectrum well-being products utilizing CBD, CBG, and CBP.

Health is associated with buzzwords organic and green. Competition in a transformative environment is leading the larger companies to seek integration so they can offer products with the assurance of quality and sustainability. Some of the smaller growers are well suited to capitalize on serving a niche market of demanding, highly informed consumers with an up-scale organic product line.

Branding is now of the utmost importance. The major players in the market have the advantage of market share and recognition. To hold this advantage, they will turn to increase the diversity of products, and promoting the awareness of a brand label. Companies will strive for quality and safety recognition. The specialty organic market will lead the cultivators to promote sustainably grown products, either by acting within the framework of a large corporation or on their own. An associated trend is the movement of other industries into the arena, such as the big beverage companies into the infused drink markets.

The industry continues to battle the legal framework of rules and regulations that vary from state to state and country to country. The regulatory changes that are progressing towards global legalization contain the downside of increasing government control. The turmoil in struggling economies due to the pandemic may foster increased acceptance of legalization to obtain the benefit of tax revenues. Cannabis legalization brings opportunity, but also enforcement of tax laws, and quality control. Laws, favorable or not, bring the expense of compliance. Some companies, regardless of innovative products, may not be able to afford the rising costs of compliance.


Scott Gelbard