Cannabis Sales Headed for Record High
U.S. cannabis sales is estimated to rack up $57 billion by 2030. But hold on: That figure could top a whopping $72 billion if the 18 additional states that seem likely to legalize activate their markets.
It’s a stunning projection by New Frontier Data in its new report that analyzes the current U.S. cannabis economy, which includes potential state market activations, consumption trends, product innovation and sustainability efforts. The factors fueling record market growth are strong consumer demand, an influx of newly operational legal states, the normalization of cannabis consumption, and increasing mainstream recognition of the plant’s therapeutic and wellness potential.
Assuming legalization happens in all 18 potential markets by 2030, 47% of total demand would be met by legal cannabis purchases, up from 27% in 2021, indicating continued disruption of illicit markets.
NY to Give Licenses to Cannabis Offenders
New York State is making history, launching a first-of-its-kind approach to the cannabis industry that takes a major step forward in righting the wrongs of the past. Governor Kathy Hochul, the Cannabis Control Board and Office of Cannabis Management introduced the Seeding Opportunity Initiative which would provide key opportunities for farmers, entrepreneurs and individuals that have been disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs. Notably, the proposed regulation would give individuals with previous cannabis convictions and their family members, the first opportunity to apply for conditional adult-use cannabis licenses.
The application portal will open as early as Summer 2022, and the first set of licenses are expected to be distributed by late Summer or early Fall. Successful applicants will be given access and support to renovated or renovation-ready locations for dispensaries in high traffic areas.
Senate Bill Promotes Marijuana Research
The Senate in late March unanimously approved a marijuana bill—but not the federal legalization measure that advocates have been eagerly awaiting. Rather, it’s a modest piece of legislation simply meant to promote research into marijuana.
The bill—sponsored by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA)—is titled the Cannabidiol and Marihuana Research Expansion Act. It would streamline the application process for researchers who want to study the plant and to encourage the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to develop cannabis-derived medicines.
It would also allow physicians to discuss the risks and benefits of marijuana with patients and require the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to submit a report on those potential health benefits, as well as one on barriers to cannabis research and how to overcome those obstacles.
Drug Testing Rates on the Decline
A new report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that drug testing rates at U.S. workplaces have fallen dramatically over the past quarter-century.
The survey of 80,000 workplaces, revealed, as expected, that the transportation, warehousing, and utilities sectors, which are federally regulated and have high safety standards, had testing rates far higher than the rest. Among the sectors with the lowest rates of testing were accommodation and food services; arts and entertainment. Somewhat surprising, educational and financial services also reported lowered testing rates.
Supply, Staffing Shortages Result in Increased Retail Prices
Fuel prices are up. Plane fares are on the rise. Even Dollar Tree has raised its prices to $1.25.
And if your store is in line with about three-quarters (73%) of small business owners, you’ve also been forced to increase selling prices. According to a survey from NFIB Research Center, inflated prices are primarily the result of supply chain disruptions and/or increased compensation due to staffing shortages. Of businesses that raised prices, 44% went up by 10% or more. Eighty percent of small business owners experiencing supply chain disruptions reported that the disruption is causing lost sales.
QR Codes add Digital Interaction to Customer Experience
One of the lasting pandemic-related changes in consumer behavior could be the adoption of the QR code. The little box with the puzzle-like lines, allows consumers touchless access to product information by scanning the application with a smartphone.
A report from Datassential noted younger consumers were more familiar with the technology, and that businesses focused on Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z should be looking at how QR technology could be incorporated to reach them.
While restaurants adopted QR codes as a sanitary alternative to traditional menus, retailers could also benefit amid current worker shortages, as the QR code can add a valuable educational component to customer service initiatives. QR codes could also be used for digital payments, and if connected to loyalty or other shopper programs, could provide consumer insights businesses. Given that 67.3 million Americans speak a language other than English, one lesser-known function of QR codes is that they can direct customers to content in their preferred language, as determined by the settings on their mobile device.