A new year offers a fresh chance to look forward. Here are some of my predictions for where cannabis is headed in 2018.
We’re going to continue to see a decline in folks smoking cannabis, coupled with a further increase in people vaping, dabbing, and using other concentrates. Although I personally love the ritual of rolling up a joint and letting the languid smoke trail from my fingertips, I know the comparative health benefits of vaping are numerous, and vaping is altogether less conspicuous. And if plain old dry flower is your absolute favorite thing, many vape pens are now built to be used with dried flower, oil cartridges, and concentrates.
Pretty big money should be headed into medicinal marijuana research. Unfortunately, some of that money is going to come from Big Pharma. With a reputation for addressing nearly every ailment under the sun, CBD is poised to take the health world by storm. Medicinal options will multiply exponentially, with innovations outpacing greed.
This might be wishful thinking, but I also expect to see laws relax around consuming cannabis in public. As more cities and states adapt liquor codes to cover cannabis usage, a handful of green speakeasies could spring up across the country. This trend should lead to a surge of cannabis tourism, another sector of the industry whose time has come.
Expect to see more cannibus companies going public and entering the stock market. Last year, the US market saw thirty-five percent increase in profits and Canada saw a sixty-five percent increase. That dipped significantly when AG Jeff Sessions pulled the Obama-era policies instilled through the “Cole Memo,” which encouraged federal agencies to allow states to regulate their own cannabis laws. Those stocks have still not fully recovered, but most financial advisors feel this will ultimately not be enough to scare investors away from the projected $13 billion green jackpot.
But there’s one trend I’m most hoping to see in 2018: cannabis for social change. This industry is on the brink of making billions and billions of dollars. Leaders have an opportunity—and a responsibility—to set ethical trends. I want to see their employees receive equal pay and health care coverage. I want to see womxn and people of color and LGBTQI folks working at the top levels of the industry. I want to see growers setting the bar for carbon caps, solar energy, and environmental regulations dealing with the impact of grow operations. On our end, consumers have a responsibility to push our state governments to use the massive tax revenue pouring in for the greater good. Hopefully we stoners can pick up where the federal government left off, reviving our economy and making our state a better place to live—all through the power of weed.