20 Bold Predictions for the Cannabis Industry in 2020

As the Green Rush soars into a new decade, we thought it would be useful-and fascinating-to find out where the big players see it all going in 2020 and beyond. From all-out federal legalization to innovative new technology,  here’s what they see in the crystal ball.

Own or perish

“Any brand that doesn’t own or have a contract for control of its supply chain is going to have a really hard time. I wouldn’t be surprised if by the end of 2020, we see 40 percent of the brands that are on the shelf now no longer there.” – Graham Farrar, President, Glass House Farms

Return to medical

“It could be a back-to-the-future where medical cannabis could become more prominent. Medical was so important in getting the cannabis industry up and running in the early part of this decade, and then we went all-in on adult use. A lot of the people who are going to adult-use are now looking to see how they can use cannabis for wellness and true medical purposes. You’re going to see a lot of states vote on medical cannabis in the 2020 elections, and you’re going to see a lot of great technology on the medical side.” – Sam Martin, Chief Strategy Officer, Leafly

Federal legalization

“You’re going to see Federal legalization and de-scheduling of cannabis off of the complete schedule. By 2021, medical cannabis will be federally legal, and the states will be left to choose if they want to legalize recreationally. There is a multiple of factors that will lead to this: the election cycle, and giving U.S.cannabis companies access to the capital markets, which guards them against being overtaken by Canadian companies -Nic Karll, CEO of Eco Packaging Solutions

Less growth, more profits

“Many cannabis businesses will shift their focus from growth at all costs to creating viable, profitable businesses. That may mean slowing down their growth and making other hard choices, but ultimately it will result in a more stable and more sustainable industry. That will enable investment in innovation and increased product effectiveness, with a tight focus on creating a better experience for patients and customers.  At the end of the day, superior products coupled with strong business practices is where the industry needs to head.” – Nancy Whiteman, CEO, Wana Brands

A huge Q4

“Through the early part of the year, some of the largest cannabis companies struggling will lead to marquee companies closing the door. As the field narrows, this will be offset by Q4 being the most optimistic time in Cannabis over the previous 24 months as the market factors begin to stabilize.”David Mukpo, COO, tökr

Consolidation in the hemp industry

“From a retail standpoint, hemp is finding its way into stores and will become more and more popular. We expect that trend to continue in 2020. From a farmer’s standpoint, there’s going to be consolidation across the farm industry as a result of a mass surplus in crops. This is a natural reaction to an industry that just became federally legal.”- Jordan Gielchinsky, President, Icon Farms

Less investment dollars

“Upheaval in the capital markets is certain to persist, which won’t slow entrepreneurship, but will result in even greater scarcity of investment capital. Only the top performers will be able to navigate this challenge and rise to the top. 2020 is the year we expect to see extraordinary companies emerge founded in excellence, resourcefulness, and tenacity. – Ross O’Brien, Founder, Bonaventure Equity & Cannabis Dealmaker Summits, author Cannabis Capital

Improved retail experience

“As the ‘digital natives’ of retail, dispensaries will embrace the opportunity to build physical stores with a digital-first experience, making them some of the savviest retailers in 2020. Envision customer check-in systems that can tell you, “Shirley likes hybrid gummies,” and automatically apply a special for her on that product that might be expiring soon. The customer and the retailer both benefit. With nuanced data on individual buying habits, dispensaries will start focusing on personalized purchasing and educational experiences to stand out among the growing pack-which is ultimately the future of all retail. – Kyle Sherman, CEO, Flowhub 

” As more operators get their legs under them, consumers will have more choice of where to shop and retailers will have to level up to win their hard-earned cannabis dollars in an increasingly competitive environment.” – Sasha Kadey, Co-Founder and Creative Director, Higher Standards 

CBD slowdown

“Additional CBD regulations are on the horizon, and we’ll start to see fewer CBD brands on the shelves that were releasing false information about the ingredients and potency within their products. There’s a chance that the CBD market may become less saturated due to the new regulations, allowing legitimate brands that are FDA and GMP certified to step into the spotlight. Also, as the stigma around cannabis consumption continues to decrease in 2020, companies will start getting creative within the cannabis gifting space, and we’ll begin to see more opportunities for international trade.” — Michael Scherr, CEO, Aria Brands

New delivery methods

“Tinctures, gel capsules, and gummies are a thing of the past. In 2020, we can expect to see a continued focus on innovation within the industry, from varying strain types like CBG and CBN, to the creation of new delivery methods that enhance the efficacy of CBD at an incredible rate. We’re also seeing the development of functional products and products that pair CBD with natural ingredients like turmeric and ginger, as well as broad-spectrum, all of which will evolve and improve the consumer experience.” Jay Hartenbach, CEO and co-founder, Medterra 

Faster onset time

“This is the year to solve the edibles problem. We are going to see a strong interest in fast onset edibles and ingestibles for people who don’t want to smoke or vape, but also who don’t want to wait the 45 minutes to 90 minutes that traditional edibles take. – Kim Rael, CEO, Azuca

New opportunities abound

“The areas that will continue to thrive are the emerging industries within the cannabis markets: the international markets, the hemp space, science, and financing. There are still so many opportunities to get into the business. I look at it this way: Is it too late to get into natural pet food? Is it too late to get into construction? No. You just have to figure out what you want your play to be, find your angle, and figure out what’s going to be different about your idea.” -Cassandra Farrington, CEO and Co-Founder of Marijuana Business Daily

More deaf involvement

“Our community is starting to understand the medical benefits of cannabis, and we’re developing the language that will give us more jobs and education. There are so many deaf people who want to work in the industry and so many industry people who want to give job opportunities to the deaf community.”   – Angela Panks , Co-Founder, Home Grown ORegonicX

Rise of the terpenes

“Many cannabis consumers still have no idea what terpenes are, even though they make up a major aspect of the cannabis consumption experience. In 2020, we’ll see more mainstream conversations about terpenes, and more awareness of what terpenes are and why they’re so important. With that, we’ll also see more discussion about the different compounds in cannabis, from CBN and CBG, moving past THC and CBD to learn from the rest of the plant.” -Brian Rice, Director of R&D, Boveda

What recession?

“With fear of a recession coming in 2020, many investors are trying to figure out which industries will last. Cannabis is relatively new as a business, but vices are not and will continue to thrive as an investment in good and bad economies. Even with pot stocks in the shape they are in, cannabis will be a recession-proof investment.” — Rick Batenburg III, Chief Investment Officer, Clear Cannabis Inc

Stricter regulation

“In the marijuana realm, states will see increased testing requirements and testing laboratories increased scrutiny as the legal marijuana markets mature and consolidate around best practices in testing. We will see the hemp industry’s growth restricted by FDA and USDA actions as these federal agencies attempt to formulate the regulations needed to protect consumers. Hopefully, the feds will see the mature marijuana testing industry as a model for hemp and work toward consolidation of the two.” –  Frank Traylor, CEO, AgriScience Labs

Vapegate: The Sequel

“The vaping crisis was a big black eye in 2019. This will course correct, but we’re not done. These issues are going to compound over the next year, and it’s the companies that are already thinking ahead and understanding what the issues are: additives, heavy metals, combustion, that will become, l hope, the saviors of that particular space.” -Joe Hodas, CEO, GoFire

Emphasis on education

“You’re going to see a lot more education and a lot of companies trying to get across that trust bridge. You’re going to hear a lot more about COA (Certificate Of Analysis) in the market. The market is going to become a lot smarter, and more companies are going to re-test products to make sure that consumers are safe.” – Amit Rikhi, CEO of ZoneIn CBD.

A big shakedown

“I think there will be a big shakedown in the industry. People who are not turning a profit are going to fall on hard times, but the people who are net positive and making some profits, first out of the gate, building brands, and being more sustainable, will come out ahead in 2020.”  – Anne Joyce, CEO, Liberty Clothing

Massachusetts in the house

“Massachusetts will remain amongst the most attractive cannabis markets in the country. The state’s slow and pragmatic start to licensing approval will prove to be the model to follow for states that go green for adult use in 2020 and beyond.” -Joshua Sigel, CEO, ecofarm

 FDA to give more clarity

“In the next three months, the FDA may make an announcement erring on the side of caution with regard to CBD in food and beverage. We may see limits in concentration for retail consumer products or something somewhat more restrictive than the policy now. But we don’t believe the FDA will destroy the recreational CBD market -Matt Willse, President and Founder, Resonate Foods


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This article originally appeared on entrepreneur.com

Green Entrepreneur Staff