With cannabis legalization gaining momentum across America, the market for legal marijuana is set to explode in the near future. But what types of products will see the most growth - smoke-ables, edibles, topicals? That's the burning question on the minds of aspiring entrepreneurs, marketers and budtenders.
Here's what industry insiders think will see the greatest growth as legal retailers replace the black market for marijuana.
“We believe vaping is going to show substantial and sustainable growth over the coming years. With pre filled cartridges and pods, an endless variety of flavors, potency and blends to choose from, vaping is the go to choice for people that want something discreet that also allows for controlled dosing. Vaping is also very attractive to people new to cannabis and those that prefer not to smoke due to health concerns.”
— Oregrown Founder and VP of Retail and Branding Chrissy Hadar
“I believe edibles have most potential for growth. Right now, there is not enough information available for what an edible does from one person to the next. You may take 5mg of a gummy and see rainbows, while I might need 10x as much to get that same effect. That being said, most people wouldn’t even know what 5mg of an edible means. There’s been a lack of consistency and consumer education on the topic, leaving it the most potential for growth.”
— The Daily Leaf Co-Founder Stephen Gold
Yashar Gold (left) with Stephen Gold (right)
“From what it looks like here, concentrates and the dabbing of concentrates will show the most growth. The techniques cultivators and extractors are employing today are mind blowing. Not to mention, the devices available in the market to consume them are innovating everyday.”
— MJ Arsenal Director of Marketing Sam Campbell
“I think micro-dosed beverages will see the most growth. Drinking anything — wine, tea, beer, coffee — is such a pervasive social activity that it's only a matter of time before cannabis-infused beverages are a cooler mainstay.”
— East Fork Cultivars CEO Mason Walker
“I think we will see more and more topicals. They truly work for pain and other issues such as muscle tightness and inflammation. Pretty much everyone suffers from these and once people see the relief that topicals provide, I believe their use will become as commonplace.”
— AlpinStash Founder Danny Sloat
“Edibles is such a fast growing segment, but people rarely bring up cannabis pills, something I also think will grow since there is a large population of medical patients that would rather ingest without having to eat something sugary or high in calories. Canadian licensed producers are placing big bets on pills as an alternative to edibles, so this should be a good metric to see if it becomes more widely adopted.”
— Cannador CEO Zane Witzel
“I think that the topical market will grow as more brands approach topicals as they would self-care, luxury lifestyle products. Topicals also allow people to experiment with THC without the intoxicating effects. Relating back to my prediction of the fastest growing cannabis user populations, I believe that topicals will be especially appealing to the seniors and moms for discretion, lack of intoxication, and symptom relief.
"I also think plant-based, whole-plant extract, low dose edibles will grow in popularity. This may look like oil based tinctures that seek to preserve the full range of secondary compounds within the plant matrix. I believe that as people experiment with cannabis they will demand ethically produced products that take a holistic health and wellness approach.”
— Cannabis Educator & Consultant Emma Chasen
“The bottleneck here is legislation. It hampers progress, not only from a product perspective, but from a citizen awareness and messaging perspective. When that changes, I think there will be strong growth in almost all areas of the cannabis industry. More attention, more sales, more funding and more innovation.
"I think you would still see the most growth with the raw plant though—the building block for nearly all other product. This is also the preferred method for populations in states who still find cannabis illicit. The black market loves raw plant.
"But all that aside, I hope the craft industry keeps up with the market growth. I think high-quality plant product and specialized breeding and genetics are incredibly important. Not only for the customer, but for the industry. I’m fearful of cannabis becoming too much of a ‘commodity’ as regulations are updated, and Big Ag begins to get involved. But the fact that so much local culture is wrapped up in cannabis, I think there will always be room for the boutique grower and producer. I think those smaller outfits will explode region by region as the laws change. Then they will face the bigger challenge of consolidation and corporate competition.”
— Goldleaf Founder Charles McElroy