What does 2024 hold for the cannabis space?

cannabis 2024

As we enter the new year, curiosity and hope are in the air. We ponder what’s to come, dream of everything possible, and anxiously await reality.

The cannabis community has been on a non-stop roller coaster ride since Colorado became the first state to legalize adult use a decade ago. Looking ahead to 2024, it feels like we’re about to enter a triple loop-de-loop. Some have a sense of cautious optimism, and others wonder if things are only about to get more complicated.

Here’s what may lie ahead.

The times they are a’changing

Heading into 2024, one thing is clear: change is coming. It’s been several months since the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommended the Drug Enforcement Agency move cannabis from its Schedule I designation to Schedule III. And while the government has been relatively quiet on the topic since, Washington insiders believe it’s only a matter of time before action is indeed taken—especially as we enter a presidential election cycle.

The rescheduling conversation has sparked a hot debate within the community. Some argue that any change is positive and that rescheduling could help the fledgling cannabis industry thrive. Others say it’s a way for Big Pharma to seamlessly enter the game and would do nothing to protect recreational cannabis companies—and consumers.

The Farm Bill will also likely be debated this year after Congress punted at the end of 2023. The growing hemp-derived cannabinoid market could be in jeopardy, or perhaps legislators will realize it’s not that different from state-legal cannabis. 

It’s hard to predict just what will happen on a federal level in 2024, but most would agree that some type of change is afoot and that it could radically alter the landscape. Given that the majority of Americans live in a state with legal cannabis and public opinion of the plant is at an all-time high, analysts believe the political climate will dictate action prior to November.

Eroding of stigmas

Cannabis is more mainstream than ever, a trend likely to continue into 2024. A recent Gallup poll showed 70 percent of Americans are in favor of legalizing marijuana. From Texas to Florida and even Nebraska, a number of unlikely states and communities are considering reform this year. 

In California, most employers cannot penalize workers for off-duty cannabis consumption thanks to a law that takes effect on January 1, something that is being considered by more states across the country. There’s also the fact that bars in the Midwest and beyond are serving THC-infused drinks right alongside beer and vodka tonics.

No one cares if you smoke pot. The calls for prohibition are becoming quieter, and the same old arguments for keeping cannabis illegal are being invalidated on the regular. More legislators are in agreement that no one should be in jail for marijuana, including President Biden

Knowing this, it’s my hope that more cannabis prisoners will be freed in 2024, and expungements will continue to take effect. The victims of the war on drugs are seemingly being forgotten in the excitement of legalization, something that needs to be reconciled this year and beyond.

Synergy abounds

At MJBizCon 2023, I asked several cannabis industry professionals what they felt was on deck for the new year. Many of them believed that partnerships were going to be critical to helping the space survive, a notion I tend to agree with. Competitors are turning into colleagues, and the scarcity mindset is hopefully fading. It can be difficult to set aside differences, but at the end of the day, we’re all on the same team.

My hope for 2024 is that the cannabis community works to elevate one another, that legislators open doors for everyone to succeed, and that we continue to fight for restorative justice. I dream of open dialogue, plenty of seats at the table, and unification for a common goal: a thriving space where everyone is free. 


Rachelle Gordon

Rachelle Gordon is a cannabis journalist and Editor of GreenState.com. She began her weed writing journey in 2015 and has been featured in High Times, CannabisNow, Beard Bros, MG, Skunk, Cannabis and Tech Today, and many others. Rachelle currently splits her time between Minneapolis and Oakland; her favorite cannabis cultivars include Silver Haze and Tangie. Follow Rachelle on Instagram @rachellethewriter