April 20 ― aka “420” ― is considered pot’s biggest day, and it should only get more popular now that 33 states have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational purposes.
The buzz over 420 isn’t just media hype, according to cannabis industry insiders like Robert Arabian, founder of Pop-Up Potcorn, a line of cannabis-infused microwave popcorn.
“These days, 4/20 has turned into the biggest Holiday in the cannabis industry and serves as a day of celebration for the advancements the industry has made in the legal space,” Arabian told HuffPost.
Here’s how the marijuana industry is changing:
CBD — or cannabidiol, the nonpsychoactive ingredient in the marijuana plant — is popping up in all sorts of products, including face masks, jelly beans and even burgers, despite the lack of evidence of its effectiveness for easing pain, insomnia, anxiety and depression.
Michael Christopher, the CEO of Mood33, a California-based cannabis-infused beverage brand, believes CBD will be sticking around for quite a while, though maybe not in its current form.
“We are seeing some proliferation of CBD-infused products that are starting to overwhelm consumers,” Christopher told HuffPost. “From $9 CBD-infused donuts to $14 CBD-infused brownie mix, we are unsure of the viability of these new product formats that seem to ‘just throw some CBD in’ and mark up the price point.”
More Women Using Weed
Last year, baby boomers were seen as the future of sales, but industry experts now see women as the next budding market.
Sheena Shirvai, director of consumer communications for Eaze, a cannabis-delivery company in California, says women are now behind 75 percent of orders.
Dr. John Oram, the Founder/CEO of NUG, a cannabis company specializing in concentrates, said “soccer moms” are coming into the business in droves ― and it shouldn’t be a surprise.
“It sounds cliché, but there is some truth there, too,” Oram told HuffPost. “Moms generally make the health and wellness decisions in the household. As cannabis becomes a more accepted wellness product (especially CBD products) it is natural to expect women to play a greater role in choosing quality cannabis products.”
Budding Beverage Boom
Ray Landgraf of Island Cannabis, which deals with cannabis production technology, says there’s a thirst for pot-infused drinks.
“We’re really early on beverages where people are just figuring out the science that will make cannabis beverages a really unique experience and providing a different answer to what occasions like happy hour really mean,” he said.
Dooma Wendschuh of the Canadian-based Province Brands predicts that liquid may replace smoking as the delivery system of choice for potheads.
“No one wants to step outside to smoke. Especially here in Canada, where it’s usually pretty cold outside,” Wendschuh told HuffPost. “Excluding cannabis ― which still isn’t legal in most places ― there are three legal psychoactives in our world – caffeine, alcohol and tobacco. Two of those three are consumed as beverages and the third no one does anymore. People like to drink their psychoactives. It’s just that simple. Give your lungs a break. They’re dealing with enough pollution as it is.”
Weed Delivery Is The Future?
As more states legalize cannabis, ensuring that people have access to the herb usually falls to dispensaries or delivery services.
However, the idea of brick-and-mortar bud shops popping up like Starbucks is one that should be nipped in the bud, according to Brad McLaughlin of BudTrader.com, which bills itself as “the largest cannabis social media platform.”
“Dispensaries will go the way of Blockbuster Video. You heard it here first,” McLaughlin said. “People don’t want to leave the pad, especially in major metropolitan cities with heavy traffic congestion like New York, LA and places where it’s cold.”
Dispensaries Are The Future?
However, many industry insiders such as Bryson Bulda, brand manager of LBS Distribution, a California cannabis company, believe dispensaries are crucial to building burgeoning bud businesses.
“Delivery is a great option for educated consumers,” she said. “Going to a dispensary and talking to budtenders is the only way to actively learn from products and what you are consuming.”