By Serge Chistov, https://honestmarijuana.com/
State legalization is the first step in ongoing growth of this multibillion dollar industry and the East coast market just got another boost, earlier this year, when New York became the latest state to legalize recreational marijuana. This new change puts New York with other legal states in the area, including Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.
The cannabis industry is one that many experts agree could exceed $7 billion annually in the near term and part of that optimism comes from ongoing state by state legalization. After all, the market hasn’t been this busy since Washington became the first Pacific state to legalize recreational marijuana, almost 10 years ago.
The only stumbling block at this point is that marijuana remains illegal at the federal level. So for those state-licensed businesses in the market, it means that their operations are limited to the state they are in. From cultivation to consumer sales, cannabis businesses can only work within the state they are licensed for. Even if a business is licensed in adjoining states—Vermont and New York, for example—products cannot be shipped from one state to the other without directly contravening federal law.
But while this stricture does make things more complicated, cannabis entrepreneurs are thinking ahead and seeing this issue as an opportunity to be on the ground floor of an industry that will at some point expand at lightning speed. By establishing grow operations and supply-chains where none or few currently exist, on a state by state basis, they are preparing for a day when state licensing is no longer a limitation. By most estimations, it’s only a matter of when, not if, the federal government will legalize recreational marijuana. When it does, those state lines, and the limitations to the cannabis businesses that they create, will disappear. When they do, the infrastructure and supply lines that these businesses will have established will be ready to go full tilt.
A perfect example of how this could work is the state of Virginia. This great state shares its border with five legal medical marijuana states: West Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky, Tennessee, and North Carolina. These same five states have yet to make the jump to legalizing recreational marijuana so there would be a future opportunity for a Virginia-based grow facility to step right up and serve not just those five states but other markets that flow through them, including Pennsylvania, Ohio, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, and Indiana. In other words, a forethought and investment now could pay off in a large way in the coming years, when federal legalization opens up the market.
It’s clear that the current and ongoing development of the East coast marijuana market is important, it’s essential to remember that there are products that are specific to this market that are still open for development and growth. The key is to remember that there has been a shift in consumer thinking and spending, when it comes to things that people ingest.
What is meant by that? Go into any grocery store aisle and see the lengths to which manufacturers and producers are responding to the consumer desire to buy whole foods: items that aren’t processed and boxed for easy consumption, but are natural and higher-quality. Consumers want to know what they’re putting into their bodies and that is true for marijuana too. After all, a product taken to relax or alleviate anxiety shouldn’t increase worries about ingesting harmful chemicals. It comes down to simple supply and demand.
Businesses are learning quickly that consumers are willing to pay more for high-quality, organically grown cannabis. Those consumers aren’t just those who are new to recreational marijuana, but even long-time cannaenthusiasts are looking for high-quality, organically grown marijuana that looks, smells, and tastes fresh. It’s not just about personal enjoyment either: a product that doesn’t rely on heavy metals or pesticides to be produced is very much in demand. Brands that have committed to sustainable, eco-friendly grow operations, from field to package, are going to come out the winners in this market.
Coming full circle on this discussion, federal legalization will eventually mean that cannabusinesses will be able to ship products from state to state. For growers that are in a solid geographical position, they are set to become suppliers of organically grown cannabis, for every state East of the Mississippi.
Cannabis businesses that have been in place for years, such as in Colorado might have become a little complacent but it’s not too late for them to get ready to be a part of the cannaboom. In fact, the East coast marijuana market growth is very much mimicking what Colorado and the other Pacific states experienced some time ago, and can provide the map for these states to get ready to grow and grow quickly!
Ultimately, all marijuana markets across the U.S. will come to find that the next big unique selling proposition that they need to bank on is in organically grown, eco-friendly cannabis. Only a smart few entrepreneurs and marijuana market investors see that potential right now, but now is the time to get positioned to leverage the trends that will occur with federal legalization and the shift in the market demands to high-quality, organic products.
Serge Chistov is a cannabis industry expert and Chief Financial Partner with Honest Marijuana Coeco conscious cannabis growery. Honest Marijuana has been a leader in cannabis innovation since it’s inception with an organic approach to the growth, production and packaging of cannabis, the launch of the first-ever organic hemp wrapped machine rolled blunts, an the invention of the now patented Nanobidiol Technology which powers the company’s just released line of with the Insta Fizzy, Insta Gummies and Insta Mints as well as their Hemp Theory product line.
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