Cannabis and Retail: Interesting Facts and Emerging Trends

2019 is abuzz with the momentum of companies jumping to create a niche for themselves in the emerging market.  As cannabis becomes more widely accepted thanks to legalization in Canada, and some additional US States, the market will continue to boom with new products.

Here is a list of 2019 cannabis trends to watch out for in retail:

Edibles

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Though cannabis edibles will not be legal in Canada until Oct 17, 2019, many producers are already preparing for the day that federal regulations are in place.

Deloitte estimates that six out of ten interested Canadian cannabis consumers will decide to try new edible products when they become legal.

In US states like Washington and Colorado, consumers can already buy numerous products including high-end candies, chocolates, mints, and even coffee.

Grizzle.com shared a report from BDS Analytics late last year noting, “As smoking becomes less popular, the edibles market has become ‘the fastest growing and most profitable segment in cannabis.’ Some estimates put the edibles market to grow to $4 billion by 2022.”

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Brands in this category are targeting a new, underserved consumer base with elegant packaging and sophisticated offerings in the US. According to Vogue, edibles producer Lord Jones is an Instagram star thanks to its chic packaging and celebrity collaborations with bands like Sigur Rós from Iceland.

“We realized there was a huge opportunity to normalize cannabis, to elevate the category,  to standardize it, to make something that people could rely on. We wanted to appeal to the Whole Foods shopper or Equinox member or Coveteur reader. There was nobody speaking to that person.” – Rob Rosenheck, co-founder, Lord Jones

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For Canadian Cannabis Retailers, adherence to the regulations for edibles should be top of mind. For every edible (or drink) contained in a childproof package, the product can only contain up to 10 mg of THC.

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Wellness Products

Lord Jones is also popular for their hemp-derived CBD oils and lotions. A Forbes headline declared, “Cannabis Could be the Most Profitable Ingredient in Skincare,” with the CBD market growing to $170 million in 2017 and poised to reach $1 billion by 2020. Purveyors and users claim topical CBD products can offer relief for sore muscles and are said to have the added benefit of anti-inflammatory and anti- ache properties.

“Now that nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana, and with many other states with varying latitudes of access, cannabis has gotten a whole lot more sophisticated. And the beauty business is not about to miss out.” – The New York Times

Actress Olivia Wilde speaks highly of cannabis lotions, saying, “I discovered it through my friends in L.A. Recently I did a play on Broadway for six months, and my body was wrecked. My neck was really tight. The CBD has relaxing benefits, and the idea is to avoid using too many painkillers.”

Drinks

Cannabis-based beverages are poised to challenge alcohol as a recreational alternative. A 2017 article by The Financial Post reports, “Canadians consumed as much as $6.2 billion dollars of marijuana in 2015, almost as much as they spent on wine.”

Constellation Brands, owners of Corona and Kim Crawford Wines, acquired 10% of Canadian cannabis producer Canopy. Together they are developing a nonalcoholic cannabis beverage for release in 2019 when the Canadian government is expected to greenlight marijuana beverages.

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In August 2018, Molson Coors announced a partnership with Canadian medicinal cannabis producer HEXO to develop non-alcoholic cannabis-infused drinks. molson

Cannabis Enhanced Cooking

Though cannabis is still illegal throughout most of the United States at the Federal level, it is already influencing culinary proclivities.

“Increasingly, marijuana is seen as a functional food, with purported health benefits far outnumbering what consumers can get from kale, turmeric or kombucha. With a new generation growing up in states where cannabis is legal (currently about 20% of the U.S. population), new products are rapidly entering the market.” – Forbes

The Specialty Food Association listed Cannabis as a top food trend in 2018. Cooking with cannabis is a growing health trend, said to alleviate pain, lessen anxiety and manage insomnia by Health.com.

New Customer Demographics

With legislated regulation leading to more predictable dosages, 2019 will see an influx of new customers looking for an alternative to opioids for pain management.

One such fast-growing group is seniors 70-90. A 2013 study by Health Canada found that two-thirds of registered medical marijuana customers were using the product to treat arthritis. The Globe and Mail also reported in 2016, “In the United States, seniors have become the fastest-growing demographic of cannabis users.”

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It was estimated that the legalization of Cannabis in Canada last year would potentially create a $23 billion business opportunity for retailers. In the US, BDS Analytics estimates the industry’s sales (cosmetics, consumables, and recreational cannabis) to rise to an estimated 21 billion by 2021.

Will you be ready? A marijuana dispensary compliance checklist ensures that your dispensaries have the right processes and systems in place to meet regulatory, community and health and safety standards.

Improve your Cannabis Compliance:

Compliant IA is the leading retail audit platform. It runs on smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Field managers and stores use the app to complete smart checklists at store-level, take photos, and assign tasks with automated reminders. Head office can ensure programs are deployed in time, in full,  everywhere.

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