Spoiler Alert: This 2022 outlook does not include references to federal legalization or SAFE banking legislation. In fact, the biggest opportunities in cannabis exist independently of any federal action. Additionally, operators that really think through how they can intersect with the largest themes in the industry will be best positioned for whatever is to come (whenever it arrives).
2021 was the year that cannabis as an essential business moved from pandemic crisis response to standard operating procedure. There has been time to refine and put into practice all the ways we responded to 2020 and COVID-19. Some states made big moves, and some states experienced growing pains brought on by regulation and supply conundrums.
I see the cannabis industry navigating two themes in 2022. These themes will present challenges and opportunities for all of us.
1. Normalization before legalization
Cannabis is quickly becoming part of everyday life in America. That train has left the station. 68% of Americans support full legalization and 91% believe cannabis should be available for medicinal purposes. Pop culture continues to embrace cannabis (looking at you Bieber, Seth Rogen, Jay Z, and Kate Hudson). Mainstream media is running feel good stories on the medical benefits of cannabis—and