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Starbucks-to-be: America’s Consumer Hemp Market

Pretty soon you will be able to find cannabis products in any store you step foot into.

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As common sense spreads legalization, the number of cannabis or hemp based products will grow exponentially, for a short time at least. Almost as prolific as the gluten free trend a few years back, “contains hemp” will saturate the grocery aisles of the nation’s supermarkets. This fundamental shift in the American consumer market will bring stiff competition and the inevitable price wars. The green consumer will have a whole new level of buying power.

When legalization permeates every town, city and state, the leaf will be sold to us like the best thing since sliced bread. Everything will suddenly have a greener option, a more natural alternative and a more healing strain. Whether the ubiquity of commercial cannabis sales will be good or bad (acknowledging the concern of small grow advocates), Big Cannabis will certainly alter the consumer market in the United States. There is so much potential. Brand wars loom.

Like any other product or ingredient, there will be layers of consumer marketing to attract every bit of disposable income you can muster. The low end of the market will be the realm of the hemp based bargain.  Here you’ll find accessible products for the youth market. Rebellious motifs and tie dyed packaging will dominate this sector. With two-for-one specials and tight margins, the cheaper end of the hemp industry will enjoy repeat business while building customer loyalty to last a lifetime. Just imagine: cannabis on clearance.

The middle market includes the college educated, the silent middle class, the pro-natural advocates and anyone who views hemp as both a necessary medicine for good health and a good use of disposable income.  This sector will enjoy a low, middle and high price point offering everything from alternative medicines, a range of health and beauty products, a glorious array of hemp clothing companies and boutique head shops where customer service rules. They’ll be cannabis consulting businesses, weed themed package vacations, start your own grow classes, plant based paraphernalia products and a convenience store style head shop on every street corner.

Hemp’s high end market will represent the luxury brand, the custom grown strain and all that is exclusive, expensive and green. The array of high end hemp products and services in this sector will be as staggering as the price tags. Diamond encrusted 24 carat gold pipes, sterling silver stash tins and custom built vaporizers. I predict hemp based spa packages and a cannabis concierge at all five star hotels and resorts. There’s a home delivery app in there somewhere and members only strain tasting clubs. At the very top end of things we have to consider the rarest and best of everything. Save all your pennies and you too could enjoy a high end hemp lifestyle.

Then there are the companies that currently produce or promote a different sector of the consumer market who switch to selling cannabis or hemp based products. Imagine if a certain family company switched from cleaning products to mass produced shelf stable edibles. Or if everyone’s favorite fast food chains left the world of fake meat burgers and switched to healthy hemp shakes and over 21s only cannabis laced sundaes. The battle for lifelong customers will be fierce and the profit margins scarily high.

Although there is little we can do to stop Big Cannabis from dominating the emerging commercial market, we can be informed consumers of the wonderful leaf. The rules that spread the sustainable agriculture movement apply here: know your grower, do your research, read ingredients and most importantly, buy local. We are on the precipice of a paradigm shift in the perception of pot. America’s manufacturing base will return, unemployment rates will drop and state coffers will be fit to burst with sales tax. Power is returning to the people: use your pot dollars wisely.

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