Cannabis with everything - disrupting markets to the tune of $23 billion by 2022
Wait a minute - isn't that a class B illegal drug that could result in five years in prison and an unlimited fine - or both?How well you know your UK law. But in America medical marijuana is legal almost everywhere (though tightly controlled in Britain) and you can now recreationally light up in 10 states. Totally legal in Canada too, man. That Trudeau kid, he's a such a hippy. So while Britain ruminates on its cannabis laws, who's making big bucks from this fast-growing global industry?
WELLNESS and BEAUTY start-ups, using CBD (Cannabidiol) oil that's non-psychoactive, ie won’t get you high, claiming to offer relief from pain, anxiety and depression. US beauty giant Sephora now stocks loads of “beauty and bong” products while actress Melissa McCarthy reportedly rubbed her feet with CBD oil before stepping on stage at the 2019 Oscars. CBD apparently also possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-acne properties. Who knew?
Not me. Those potheads never look fresh-faced. Anyway, what else?
FARMING and FASHION, by using hemp. A variety of the cannabis plant, hemp needs half as much land as cotton to produce a tonne of finished textiles and its drought-tolerant. It can be woven into light materials for clothing (Patagonia, obvs, and Levi's both have hemp ranges), also into commercial textiles and can even be made into strong ropes and cables. It's antibacterial and holds its strength when wet.
Euw, sounds super scratchy. I'll wait to see what Celine does with it. Next?
FOOD and ALCOHOL. Those Californians shelled out $180m for cannabis-infused food and drinks in 2016 - 10% of the state’s total marijuana sales. (Pot chocolate is super popular - but £10 for a 50g bar). The next big trend feeding those anxious millennials is 'weed' drinks - expected to be worth $600 million by 2022. Drinks giant Diageo, freaked out by falling alcohol rates, is getting in on the act and even Coca Cola is looking at infusingCBD into “functional, wellness beverages around the world.”
It's the new real thing. So is nothing immune from the pot gold rush?
Not much. It's uses are disrupting MEDICINE, PACKAGING, CRYPTOCURRENCY, E-COMMERCE, TOBACCO (last year Imperial Brands and Snoop Dogg-backed VC firm Casa Verde invested $10M in British medical marijuana research firm Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies), PLASTICS (Lego has committed to switching to more sustainables), BIODIESELS, PAPER, PET PRODUCTS (I mean), TOURISM and CONSTRUCTION (Hempcrete, I kid you not, is made from hemp hurds, lime and water and Israel’s first hemp house was constructed in March, on the slopes of Mount Carmel).
Not sure any of that's for me. What would I buy?
I'm guessing you're not a great sleeper - cannabis products are moving into the multibillion dollar sleep aid market dominated by the likes of Ambien. Gravity, the weighted blanket brand, has partnered with CBD product purveyor Mellowment to offer CBD sleep aids, available online now - just $85 for 30. Sleep is becoming so expensive. Anyway, who is making the most money out of this boom?
Probably the lawyers.
There is something called the National Cannabis Bar Association (srsly), formed in the US in 2015 which hosts events for the cannabis community around the world. They'll be lots of new laws to untangle and advice to be meted out on everything from advertising strategies to consumption levels to business practices. It's a win-win situation for those legal eagles. The world turns but some things never change.
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