12/16/19 By DAN ULLOA
This past year has been a big one for the legal cannabis industry. Formerly confined to the shadows and a few western states, the legal cannabis industry has become a big business with all the benefits as well as the problems associated with it.
According to MJ Business Daily President Chris Walsh, while the legal cannabis industry is expanding greatly and booming in the foreseeable future in general, the tumultuous nature of the industry has made it so many of the more prominent companies are hurting. The Canopy Growth Corporation stock (CGC) that was valued near $40, for example, is near $18. They are dealing with the corporate issues many corporations are also dealing with it.
More than one said it was not an easy year for the legal cannabis industry. CGC and Aurora’s respective stock are down by a bit but they’re dealing with real corp problems versus a lack of demand or another issue that in theory couldn’t be fixed. In a bubble of investment companies, investment expectations were too high.
CBD and hemp is another story.
Since its legalization last year in the Farm Bill, CBD in the last year has become a booming business and a craze with CBD being sold at local corner stores throughout the country. In addition, Kroeger and CVS have begun selling CBD. However, it’s not very regulated. Thus, many feel that some CBD is sub-par and that includes placebos that are similar to snake oil.
Hemp has many uses, but preparing factories to process hemp has been a bit difficult and the process is delayed.
The states Texas and Florida are planning to have large hemp markets. This is amusing because it goes against the usual dichotomy whereby more progressive Democratic states are taking the lead in all things related to cannabis.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are likely to regulate hemp and cannabis, but they really do not know how yet. However, the FDA is working hard on it. They have banned CBD companies from saying there are health benefits associated with the product. This was done to eliminate the snake oil aspect. But at the same time, there is a great deal of anecdotal evidence that is quite helpful in treating some ailments. (Buyer beware though).
Vaping problems continue to plague the legal cannabis industry even though it seems that mostly illegal cartridges are hurting people, which means people would be safer if it were legal. Thankfully, the issue does seem to be subsiding.
Medical Marijuana Programs Versus Legal Cannabis Industry
One concern among those who care deeply about medical programs is that medical marijuana (or clinical cannabis) patients could just get the same products off a legal adult-use, then the adult-use market will take away from the medical program. If the budtenders (marijuana dispensary workers) can offer strains to help with different ailments, it is far more preferable than the hassle of going to a doctor.
Many other corporations in the tobacco, alcohol, and pharmaceutical industries are interested in getting into cannabis including Altria (formerly Phillip Morris) and CVS, among others.
Depending on how you measure it, the legal cannabis industry is barely 10 years old, depending on if you count medical markets versus adult-use markets. Medical marijuana first went legal in California in 1996.