The United States is on the verge of the nationwide legalization of marijuana, and the moment we’re in is remarkably similar to the final days of American Prohibition. As we move away from the Wild West of weed towards a ‘governed’ system, major regulatory changes within the world of cannabis will cause ripple effects into industry and culture — namely, how new users will approach cannabis, and how its legalization will impact consumer experiences and job markets.
Legalization opens the industry up to a new audience of users beyond medical users and cannabis connoisseurs — from those who are avoiding the stigma to those who are curious but law-abiding. According to Frog Design’s Cannabis Adoption Survey, those who chose not to partake cited concerns about legality, social acceptance, lack of knowledge about health impacts, and transparency concerns about the product. Through increased regulation, commercialization, research, and education, we’ll be seeing more first-time users than ever before, with industry around capturing new users growing, making cannabis more and more accessible.
The Future of Cannabis Pairings
Beyond the traditional use cases of cannabis, we’re in for a surge in fine dining and experiential uses. Kush-couture restaurants that allow smoking, vaping, and ingestion on-site will flourish — for instance, the recently unveiled Lowell Farms cannabis café. These concepts will involve edible cannabis experiences, but also pairings. With an incredible diversity of strains and types of highs available, we anticipate coursed offerings and pairings entering the zeitgeist. Carefully curated to deliver on a specific type of experience, these cannabis experiences might be more subtle than you think — most consumers won’t want to become totally inebriated, but rather benefit from cannabis’s more mellow effects.
Post-Prohibition Job Market
With constant experimentation and innovation from cultivators, there are hundreds of different recognized strains of marijuana, each with its own growing conditions, THC and CBD concentrations, and unique compound ratios. The expansion of the industry is creating growth in the job market — according to Glassdoor, there were 1,512 cannabis job openings in the United States in 2019, a 76% increase from the year prior. The demand for employees with knowledge about the complexities of strains, flavors, and experiences is creating new career paths including retail associates, budtenders, and even cannabis ‘sommeliers.’
It’s an exciting time for anyone currently in the cannabis industry — the changes in regulation will drastically change how we conceive of cannabis. The days of the stoner tropes might be in the rearview mirror, as economic drivers to normalize and democratize access and usage grow.
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