The legal medicinal and recreational cannabis industry continue to thrive despite the existence of regulatory challenges. As a multi-billion industry, it has spurred business and job creation in cultivation, product development and manufacturing, technology, and other sectors. The industry growth has been shaped by various factors, starting with the legalization of medicinal or recreational use in various states.
Legalization and Business Creation
So far, the legalization map shows progress with the number of jurisdictions that have legally moved forward. All in all, 28 states have allowed the legal use of medical cannabis. Meanwhile, 8 have authorized recreational use within their jurisdiction. As a result, small businesses and startups have emerged and are expected to continuously emerge from these locations to fulfill the demand for products and services.
More businesses meant more job opportunities within the industry. A report from market research group New Frontier Data said that the legal cannabis industry will even outpace the manufacturing sector in job creation. By 2020, they project that the legal cannabis industry will open around 250,000 jobs. Meanwhile, the traditional manufacturing sector is forecasted to lose more jobs in the coming years. The current statistics reported by the Marijuana Business Daily supports this forecast. In January this year alone, legal medicinal and recreational businesses hired around 100,000 to 150,000 employees. These businesses include dispensaries, ancillary services, and cannabis-related tech firms.
More E-commerce Opportunities
Despite the growth in the industry, legal cannabis businesses still continue to experience challenges. However, technological innovations are also helping the industry hurdle through these issues. E-commerce has opened business and marketing opportunities for device and gadget manufacturers to capitalize on the power of online consumers.
There are now e-commerce niche sites that showcase legal cannabis products devices and gadgets, including vaporizers, bongs, among others. Specialty items such as vapor domes and dabblers are now manufactured and sold by online entrepreneurs such as Empire Glass and other promoters of collectible and functional cannabis glass pieces. Despite the growth in these specialized sites, e-commerce is still largely an untapped territory caused by existing federal regulations.
Increased Digital Presence
The rise in cannabis-related social media and technology applications is another trend to emerge from the industry. These include several dating apps that link enthusiasts with other enthusiasts within their state or across borders. There are consumer apps that allow enthusiasts to look at products currently in the market and read reviews from other users. Other applications seek to build communities of supporters and promote informed choices for consumers. These social media apps, as well as online discussion forums, have openly tackled the topic of legalization, allowing opinions to be freely shared.
Despite the gray areas in federal regulations and other uncertainties, the legal cannabis industry is expected to continue its positive growth trajectory in the coming years. A recently issued Arcview Market Research report said that compounded growth in the regional market will reach an annual rate of 27 percent within the next few years. From a $ 6.7 billion industry in 2016, the legal cannabis industry will triple its growth to $ 22.6 billion in 2021.