Will 2022 Be a Stormy Year for Cannabis? (VIDEO AND ARTICLE)
It’s difficult to start a new year without making some predictions. I do not have a crystal ball or any specific tidbit of private information that is likely to be earth shattering for 2022. However, I am fortunate enough to speak with clients, attorneys, and other experts in the cannabis industry on a daily basis and have some thoughts about what we can expect for cannabis (by which I mean both “hemp” and “marijuana”) in 2022. Below is my list, followed by a podcast about 2022 predictions that I recently did with Joe Agostinelli of the CPG & CBD University Broadcast.
1. CONSOLIDATION. To begin with, it is important to recognize the massive and continuing impact that the covid-19 pandemic has on cannabis. As with most industries, the pandemic has created uncertainty, opportunities, and obstacles. The upcoming year will continue that trend in the cannabis sector. Specifically, my first prediction is that we will continue to see consolidation, by which I mean more mergers and acquisitions of companies in the cannabis space. As with any consolidation phase in an industry’s lifecycle, this one will benefit some companies and harm others. We routinely assist private businesses prepare for consolidation.
2. INTOXICATING HEMP. My second prediction is that intoxicating hemp products, especially products formulated with hemp extract with sufficient THC to cause intoxication but that are within the legal limit of 0.3% on a dry weight basis, will become mainstream throughout most of the US. I have addressed this issue at length in a recent article you can read by clicking here.
3. NOVEL CANNABINOIDS. As a corollary to my second prediction, my third prediction is that we will see some of the “novel” cannabinoids become more mainstream. In particular, I am referring to cannabinol (CBN) and tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV). That being said, I made a similar prediction that CBN and/or THCV would be the “next big cannabinoid” way back in 2020. That prediction was proven wrong due to the market eclipse made by delta-8 THC in 2021. Is 2022 the year that these other cannabinoids emerge in the mainstream, or will they remain niche compounds known only to cannabis industry insiders? While I predict that one or both will emerge in a big way, I am open to being wrong. On the one hand, THCV is beginning to be discussed in mainstream media. On the other hand, the claims made of it being a weight-loss aid are not well supported with existing data. With respect to CBN, it also has a lot of hype and potential. However, it does not yet receive as much mainstream media attention as THCV, and its claims to be a sleep-aid are not well supported. Any ventures based on these compounds should be undertaken with a healthy amount of skepticism and risk-tolerance.
4. FOREIGN MARKETS. I feel more confident about my fourth prediction, which is that we will see a significant expansion in foreign markets as many countries are in the process of legalizing marijuana and further liberalizing their hemp laws. This is most notable with Mexico and other latin American countries, including Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, and Uruguay. Additionally, Europe is moving swiftly. We anticipate that Germany will legalize cannabis for adult use in 2022 and the UK is gaining ground for cannabidiol (CBD) and other hemp products. (Click here and here to read more about the Novel Foods Directive and the UK.) We are actively working with clients to help them connect with these markets.
5. US FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FALLS FARTHER BEHIND. Finally, I predict that federal legalization in the US will remain illusory, and that 2022 will not be “the year” that marijuana is finally legalized at the federal level. Maybe 2023….? Similarly, is 2022 the year that the FDA will regulate CBD and other cannabis/hemp compounds? I predict “no”.
I discuss these predictions and more with Joe Agostinelli in this video podcast:
January 3, 2022
Rod Kight is an international cannabis lawyer. He represents businesses throughout the cannabis industry. Additionally, Rod speaks at cannabis conferences, drafts and presents legislation to foreign governments, is regularly quoted on cannabis matters in the media, and is the editor of the Kight on Cannabis legal blog, which discusses legal issues affecting the cannabis industry. You can contact him by clicking here.