2019 Is the year of cannabis!

Newsflash! By 2024, the world would be spending $63.5 billion on cannabis. Legally, of course.

The marijuana industry observers are terming 2019 the year of reckoning after the Great White North legalized it, and Donald Trump signed the $867 billion 2018 farm bill. Moreover, better American banking laws can open the proverbial door for cannabis businesses’ to expand their roots. Or, the last year of the 2010s could become the defining moment of CBD, especially after the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. It is expected that by the end of 2020 CBD consumer sales in the USA will be totaling about $1.15 billion.

A Global Joint

In light of the ongoing wave of optimism, the global consumer spending on legal marijuana is slated to increase 40% to $18.1 billion by the end of 2019, as per BDS Analytics. The lion's share of the global weed revenue will come from the U.S. (about 80%), where cannabis is not federally legal yet, but the market is undoubtedly the grandest.

In fact, the black cannabis market in the United States marginally eclipses the legal one. Together, they both are a $30 billion industry, with California alone contributing $5.6 billion in 2018. Also, medical cannabis sales are calculated to earn around $5.5 billion by the end of the year. Merely two years ago, the medicinal retail market was a bit over $3 billion. The projection for the year 2022 is that of $7.3 billion.

After an overdose of numbers, following are the worldwide trends expected to influence Mary Jane.

Cannabis Food

Blended into milkshakes, sprinkled on doughnuts, or infused into olive oil, make arrangements because marijuana is coming to a kitchen near you if the National Restaurant Association is to be believed. NRA surveyed about 650 professional chefs, and 77% felt that cannabis-imbued food and drinks will be the top two dining trends unfolding in 2019. The rest are cautious about the sudden bloom.

However, we aren’t talking about pot food that will give you a haze – these cuisines will be made with Cannabidiol, shortened as CBD. It’s a non-psychotropic compound derived from cannabis plants that cannabis connoisseurs claim renders health benefits while satiating the palate.

In fact, Kevin Johnson, CEO Starbucks stated earlier in 2019 that the company is paying attention to the trend. Analysts are optimistic that Starbucks will become the first global chain to launch cannabis-infused drinks.

Cannabis Beverages

The beverage circuit will also do a lot of revving in 2019. According to Canaccord Genuity, marijuana-infused drinkables are jutting to become a $600 million U.S. market by the year 2022. These cannabis beverages may well capture 20% of the marijuana edibles market in the next four years. Giant beverage makers are giving serious consideration to this opportunity, and some are already focusing on the sub-niche of CBD drinks.

As a matter of fact, Coca-Cola is mulling a deal to make CBD-infused beverages. The Georgia-based soft drinks maker will be collaborating with Aurora Cannabis, a Canadian cannabis producer, to develop the beverages. Later in 2018, Constellation Brands — the Corona and Modelo brewer— bought a 38% stake in the Canopy Growth (Canadian cultivator) for $4 billion. Heineken's popular brand Lagunitas recently made THC-imbued sparkling water, while Molson Coors have entered into a joint venture with Hexo to produce cannabis-infused beer for the Canadians.

As part of the rising wellness beverages trend, the cannabidiol sodas are slated to become a $260 million market by 2022, and THC-imbued drinkables a $340 million market.

Cannabis Cafes

At a cursory glance, the Barbary Coast lounge in Golden Gate Bridge appears like any other casual hipster bar. With red banquettes and red wallpaper, it feels like the kind of invisible gem you’d come across for a personalized cocktail. But the patrons here are not chugging beers — they’re vaping, eating, and smoking marijuana. Barbary Coast is one of a handful of legal spots in America where people can publicly consume cannabis.

That is because despite being legal in the majority of the states, public consumption of cannabis is still not a widespread affair. In Las Vegas, for instance, it is illegal to consume marijuana anywhere on the Strip, whether in a bar, casino, or even a hotel room, though weed is legal for recreational and medical use in Nevada. Seattle has a similar problem — you can legally buy cannabis but cannot consume it unless you own a home.

As of 2019, San Francisco has the most cannabis lounges in California, but Los Angeles may overtake before the year goes out. The state granted 16 licenses for cannabis cafes in December and is taking social cannabis businesses applications since January 2018.

Cannabis Vape

In 2018, more than 30% of all marijuana sales in California were vapes. The trend is already motivating other states to follow suit, and develop low-dose products, manufactured to attract new clientele to the weed space. It includes vapes, ready-to-consume edibles, and beverages. Distillate oils, which are practically tasteless and odorless, offer potency and versatility. Over time, consumers will gradually move away from buying the whole flower as unique products like vape will offer the user more convenience and control.

BDS Analytics has reported that the $3 billion U.S. cannabis concentrates market will balloon to $8.4 billion by 2022. Vaping is the chief driver of concentrate sales, and prefilled vaporizers contributed 58% of the total concentrate revenue in 2018. The two primary reasons vaping is gaining traction is that it is portable as well as discreet, besides emitting less odor than marijuana cigarettes.

Conclusion

2019 is the year that will bifurcate between establishments that are authentic and those that are not. Up until now, marijuana was a “rising tide lifts all the boats” type of market. However, that is not true anymore. We will see businesses that are successfully executing their game plans getting a massive lift this year as retail is estimated to jump 40%. But, the industry will also start seeing feckless companies fail.

2019 will separate Mary Jane winners from the sinners!