MJBizCon — the world’s largest cannabis trade show — made its grand in-person return last week at the Las Vegas Convention Center last week.
The conference brought over 27,000 people from across the world and featured over 1,000 exhibitors and numerous educational seminars offering industry insights, including a speech from reality TV show Shark Tank star Daymond John that focused on entrepreneurial success.
Chris Walsh, CEO of MJBizCon, also shared his highly anticipated predictions for the cannabis industry at large going into 2022 during his opening speech Wednesday.
Walsh said that despite a strenuous 2020 that included a global pandemic, economic instability, and social unrest, there’s a lot to be optimistic about regarding the future of cannabis.
“Putting things in perspective since we last gathered, we’ve all been through a tremendous amount of stress and uncertainty that affects us personally and professionally,” Walsh said. “But despite the lockdowns and the political, social and economic unrest, the cannabis industry has prevailed – and been deemed essential.”
He pointed to how marijuana retail sales reached close to $20 billion, and that sales will likely double by 2025.
He also pointed out other industry trends over the past 22 months, including how nearly a dozen states have legalized cannabis use in some form, billions have been invested in mergers and acquisitions, a potential emerging market for psychedelics, and how even big mainstream companies including Amazon have thrown their support behind federal marijuana legalization.
Here are some of Walsh’s key predictions for the cannabis industry going into 2022:
More states will move forward with cannabis legalization
Walsh said that at least four states will move forward with legalization by 2022. The following states are in play for recreational or medical legalization next year:
- Rhode Island
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- North Carolina
Wyoming may decriminalize marijuana by 2022. South Dakota may also be in play for recreational cannabis pending a decision from the state’s supreme court on a voter-approved ballot initiative to legalize.
Don’t expect any major federal changes
Walsh stated that he doesn’t foresee Congress or the Biden administration making significant changes to marijuana policies, including banking reform or full-scale national legalization.
Despite federal inaction, Walsh stated the cannabis industry will continue to mature as more states consider legalization initiatives and states with existing markets continue to grow.
“It’s very clear we’re winning at the ballot box and we’re winning with state governments,” Walsh said.
He also noted that the Federal Food and Drug Administration likely won’t move on fully approving ingestible CBD by next year, but other states like California will continue to lead the trend.
“I do not think the FDA will pave the way for ingestible CBD next year, unfortunately. The federal government has shown that it moves glacially slow when it comes to anything to do with cannabis. However, I do think we will see a resurgence in CBD, fueled by states paving their own way and allowing ingestible products. California’s new law allowing CBD in food, beverages, and other ingestible products could be a game-changer.”
He also mentioned how there will likely be three to four major M&As between major companies in the United States, as well as Canada
Nevada will lead the way in social consumption
Nevada is gearing up to be the first state in the country to offer legal consumption lounges where adults 21 and over will be able to safely consume cannabis. Walsh noted that if Nevada’s program turns out to be successful, more states will likely follow its lead.
While legalization has picked up steam across the country, the majority of states including Nevada restrict cannabis consumption to private residences. Consumers in states with legal marijuana programs — including Nevada– can face legal repercussions and potentially face jail time in some cases for using cannabis in public.
However, Nev. Gov. Steve Sisolak signed a bill into law this year that gave the green light for social consumption lounges to operate within the state by 2022.Read more cannabis content on VegasNews.com.