Happy 420 to our readers. What a year it’s been for cannabis globally! Rather than recounting the year, we wanted to look at trends happening now and our outlook for the for the near future. As always, we love to hear from our readers. If you have suggestions for topics you’d like us to cover, please email us at [email protected]. Here’s a summary of what we’re seeing:
- Cannabis is More Than Just Dried Flower
I’m sure it comes as no surprise to you, given you already consume our news and entertainment content on Higher Mentality, but cannabis is an encompassing term. If you weren’t aware of that, here’s a definition. Essentially, it includes the male and female plants – Marijuana Sativa/Indica and Hemp. And what we’re seeing is demand and interest globally for multiple form factors:
Flower – seeing as seed then flower is where we start for all products, we’ll see a mix of conversation about the virtues of sun-grown to indoor and more. How do you maximize yield while maintaining consistency across harvests? How do you reduce carbon impact and water usage? How do you manipulate and improve terpene profiles?
Edibles – again, a broad category as this can include the infamous gummies, homemade treats like brownies, infused dinners from renowned and new chefs alike and a burgeoning category – beverages. Canada legalizes edibles in October, 2019. We expect a lot of chatter and innovation leading up to the date. From there, expect global interest. Another area Canada CAN be a leader, globally. Of course, a lot is riding on the structure and restrictions the government launches with.
Oils & Resins – We predict oils will continue to grow as a product segment and become a favourite amongst regular users and those beginning to experiment with cannabis. Oils are broadly organized in three categories; High-CBD, balanced or 1:1, High-THC. Resin sales are increasing. Recent data from BDS Analytics tell a promising story. Sales in Colorado increased 66% from 2017-2018 and 128% in Oregon over the same period. We expect global trends to follow suit as more regions become legal.
Hemp and Hemp Derivatives – It’s long been known that hemp can be useful for many downstream products; rope, clothing, fuel, amongst many others. With the Farm Bill being passed in the US, it’s opened up a significant opportunity for growers and manufacturers. Not only that, it’s a clear indication of how the global market will respond if they haven’t begun already.
Topicals and CPG – A lot of brands, existing and new, are launching cosmetic creams, etc. in an attempt to capture early market share. This will of course increase as regulations are lifted and additional markets come online. We’re at the precipice of massive global change.
2. Cannabis Goes Global
Again, not a shocker to you guys, but the rate of change is exciting for us as a global media brand and should be for you as progressive investors. The US is of keen interest to everyone given its size as a single market and importance in the global economy in general. However, there is also a wave of legalization and interest for change in European markets and Asia.
If you’re considering investments in the industry for the mid-long term, it’s important your portfolio mix includes global players. With the rate of consolidation we’ve seen so far, its expected that trend will continue as cannabis grows across the globe. More localized growers will be acquired by larger, global players as the need to ramp up production increases. Canopy Growth is the most aggressive global player, leveraging their investment arm, Canopy Rivers to take positions in companies across the sector, such as a recent $2.5m USD investment in High Beauty for a 18.4% stake.
3. The Power of Brand Compels You!
Building on the notion of consolidation, mass competition and the commoditization of the plant and derivatives one thing is evident for the long term success of license holders, accessory makers, anyone in the industry really – building a strong brand is critical. Here are a few examples of companies we feel are doing a great job on the branding front:
Dosist – Dosist has positioned itself as a health and wellness company. Their patented pen gives users control over dosing so they can have appropriate therapeutic experience. What we like is both the language they employ and the clean, elegant visuals. They also have created their product line with your desired state/outcome in mind. (Canadians may have a hard time seeing the actual site – as the product isn’t available here.)
House Plant – Seth Rogan’s brand House Plant, has taken a comedic and retro approach to educate people about cannabis. It’s a great aesthetic that stands out from the competition.
Tokyo Smoke – The retailer was recently acquired by Canopy Growth who purchased parent company, Hiku Brands. Tokyo smoke is a purveyor of finer quality accessories for the cannabis user as well as a cannabis retailer. Shedding the traditional “stoner/headshop” image in favour of a clean, elevated experience, Tokyo Smoke continues to offer shoppers a level above.
4. THC, CBD, and Terpenes, Oh My!
With legalization has obviously come a lot of investment. This had led to increased exploration and scientific research into the plant’s many virtues. We’re just scratching the surface, having identified more than 113 cannabinoids, but these three elements of the plant are being investigated and discussed at length.
We envision much more focus on terpenes for the remainder of 2019 and into 2020. Terpenes are a component of the plant that create the aromas, and potentially the high, of our favourite plant. We see this as a major area of education for both consumers and investors alike as it is a critical component of strain IP.
CBD is all the rage at the moment, as our moms would say. Both CBD derived from Hemp and Marijunana are gaining traction. CBD stands for cannabidiol and is a component of the plant that helps with pain relief, stress, sleep, etc. In other words, it’s being studied for its medical properties. In the coming months we see the conversation continuing and the exploration of the differences and virtues between hemp derived and marijuana derived CBD increasing. Estimates vary greatly, but one thing is certain – growth. The CBD market growth is expected to increase to $16 billion by 2025, according to Forbes. Another source, Brightfield Group, estimates that Hemp derived CBD alone will reach $22 billion by 2022.
THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is the psychoactive component of the plant. There has been a lot of chatter this year, so far, as to the legal cannabis being sold in Canada and restrictions around THC levels. In fact, the government is proposing a THC tax for edibles and oils.
5. The Investments Continue
First of all, thank you to the investor community for continuing to support the revolution. It’s an exciting time to make money and push the movement forward. Clearly, we recognize your larger motivations are on making returns, but it should be known the benefits are mutually reinforcing.
According to Grand View Research, the global legal cannabis industry is expected to reach $146 billion by 2025. Cannabis companies themselves are expected to continue from further investments from global players through 2019 into 2020.
Canada has a distinct advantage, having been early in the federal legalization game, however, the lead could erode quickly. Some of the reasons international investors are cooling on Canada include our strict marketing and advertising regulations and a shorter growing season. Check out this article on Financial Post for a sobering point of view. We advise due diligence but continued investment in the industry. Jeffries, the international consulting firm released an in-depth look at the industry at large and there are some promising findings including a focus on global expansion.
We hope you’re enjoying the day, with or without the added benefits of cannabis. Happy 420 to our friends new and old. Of course, this article isn’t encompassing. We didn’t even touch on the Vape market, medical, CBN and growing market segments; women and baby boomers. If you’d like to receive our newsletter, please subscribe to our list. The newsletter will be launching soon and will cover a host of topics from around the network from business to entertainment and more. Thanks for the support, the Puff Family.