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2022 was a mixed bag for the legal cannabis industry. Numerous companies were hit with layoffs, cash crunches and mounting debt. Conversely, there were high points, as more states legalized adult-use and President Biden announced he would be pardoning all people convicted of possession under federal law from 1992 to 2021. So what does 2023 look like for the industry? Gazing through their crystal balls, several top-tier professionals—Chenae Bullock, managing director of Little Beach Harvest, a Southampton, New York-based medical cannabis dispensary for the Shinnecock Nation; Leah Heise, founder and CEO of Gemini Twin Consulting, a cannabis consultancy; and Victor Guadagnino Jr., co-founder/chief business development officer of Keystone Canna Remedies, a Pennsylvania-based medical marijuana dispensary chain—offer their forecasts. Iris Dorbian: Aside from legalization/decriminalization, do you have any cannabis-related forecasts or predictions for 2023 that you would like to share? Chenae Bullock: Access to capital has been very difficult this year. Inflation has hurt the registers and issues with 280e have all taken their toll on cannabis companies, which will push business combinations and other M&A deals forward, as we see with Cresco and Columbia Care. Leah Heise: Awareness around psychedelics will outpace cannabis in 2023 because of the lower scheduling and the more medical focus of the products right now.
Victor Guadagnino Jr.: We will see an increase in the popularity of brands and franchises, and I hope we see quality product scale with the market. I believe that sustainable brands, in terms of growing practices and packaging, will also become more popular with the consumer, and I hope to see the industry trend that way as well.
Dorbian: What are you looking forward to in 2023?
Bullock: Movement at the federal level has to happen. The industry is stymied by the draconian policies in DC, which have to catch up with what the citizens of the country want, which is legal cannabis. The industry is beginning to figure out consumption lounges. This will be a major aspect of the market, but nobody has quite figured it out yet.
Expansion of product breadth is critical. Continual advancement in the beverage industry is one of those ways. Microdosing and products that combine with other ingredients to make even more potent medicine will be critical in attracting new consumers. Dorbian: Who are some people/businesses/organizations to watch out for in 2023?
Bullock: I think what Diddy is putting together is super interesting, and it will be great to see how it unfolds. Heise: For cannabis, Devon Richardson, Safe Arbor, ProCanna, Jessica Billingsley, Jamie Pearson. For psychedelics, Mark Passerini, Kristen Celko, Jonathon Cherkoss. I'm in love with MariMed's Betty's Eddies. They are delicious. I also love Ripple.
Guadagnino Jr.: GTI, RAW, Cookies, PAX, Puffco and Dutchie.