There’s no beating around the bud, 2016 was a booming and gratifying year for the cannabis industry in the US. Not only have eight additional states decided to legalize medical or recreational cannabis, the industry itself is considered one of the fastest growing in the country.
From skyrocketing stocks, to reductions in crime, to becoming an economic crutch for small towns, the industry has proven as viable and beneficial as any. But as the year comes to a close, experts are already looking towards what the cannabis movement has in store for 2017, and Forbes magazine has made six predictions for the cannabis industry in this coming year.
First and foremost, Los Angeles is forecasted to take over as the marijuana capital in the United States. The city’s medical market is already worth close to $1 billion, and now that recreational cannabis has been legalized, LA is expected to steal the spotlight from Denver.
The ongoing fight to allow professional athletes—particularly those in the NFL—to use cannabis for pain treatment was in full swing this year. In 2017, it’s not absurd to assume that one of these professional leagues may finally ease up on their restrictive rules regarding marijuana use.
A vast number of cannabis-centric television shows made promising debuts this past year, including HBO’s High Maintenance and MTV’s Mary + Jane. So it’s certainly reasonable to expect a primetime network to develop a show focused on cannabis use. In fact, Parks and Recreation’s actor Adam Scott has a show in the works with NBC called Buds, a comedy series about a dispensary in Denver.
Even with all the strides that the cannabis industry has taken, its growth is still being prohibited by the DEA’s unwillingness to declassify marijuana. That being said, plant derived CBDs have proven immensely helpful for a number of medical ailments, and thus an interest in synthetic cannabinoids will likely spike in 2017.
Forbes also predicts that the demand for craft marijuana will see major growth in the next year. From organic-forward features to celebrity endorsements; marketing, branding, and packaging will rule the industry in 2017.
Lastly, the business mag forecasts a potential solution for the ongoing cannabis recycling crisis, which stems from marijuana producers being forced to destroy crops that fail testing instead of using them for other purposes.
As shitty of a year as it’s been, the cannabis industry has a lot to look forward to in this coming year. That being said, there is always the possibility of a collision with President-Elect Donald Trump’s anti-cannabis fueled cabinet, but the future of marijuana remains bright nonetheless.