marijuana gold rush

Cannabis becomes new ‘green gold rush’ in US

Legal medical and recreational markets will be worth $23.4 billion by 2022

It’s known by multiple names-marijuana, weed, pot and cannabis. But a new one could be “moneymaker” after legal sales of the drug in 2017 reached $8.5 billion in the United States and $9.5 billion worldwide, experts said.

The legal medical and recreational marijuana markets are projected to be worth $23.4 billion by 2022, according to cannabis research firm ArcView Group and BDS Analytics.

Thirty-three US states have legalized medical marijuana and 10 states and Washington, have legalized marijuana for recreational use by adults over 21. Every state that has legalized recreational use of marijuana has first legalized it in a medical capacity.

A Gallup Poll in October showed 64 percent-or two in three US citizens-of those surveyed support legalizing pot. And a greater percentage, 85 percent, or nearly 9 of every 10 adults, believes that marijuana should be legalized for medical use, according to a Harris poll.

Employees cut harvested medical cannabis at Pharmocann, an Israeli medical cannabis company in northern Israel January 24, 2019. [Photo/Agencies]

US President Donald Trump has expressed support for allowing states to regulate marijuana independently.

US corporations are seeing green in the green leaf’s acceptance by the public. Marijuana went financially mainstream in 2018 when the Canadian company Tilray Inc became the first cannabis stock to go public on the Nasdaq in July.

Said Brian Shappell, editorial director for the National Institute for Cannabis Investors: “The type of investor we see now is everyone from Budweiser, who partnered with Canadian marijuana company Tilray, to make cannabis drinks to big tobacco firm Altria maker of Marlboros, who acquired Canada’s Cronus group. We’re getting the biggest fishes and the littlest fishes.”

Scotts Miracle-Gro-a traditional gardening-supply company lawn-in April 2018 paid $450 million for Sunlight Supply, a privately held distributor of gardening supplies that is a leader in hydroponics, a popular way to grow cannabis in water because it uses no soil.

Other alcoholic beverage makers are trying to add cannabis as an edgy ingredient as their traditional business slows. Molson Coors Brewing Co has started a joint venture with Hydropothecary Corp to develop nonalcoholic, cannabis-infused beverages for the Canadian market. Heineken NV’s Lagunitas craft-brewing label has launched a brand specializing in nonalcoholic drinks infused with THC, marijuana’s active ingredient.

CBD, or cannabidiol, is the part of the leaf from the hemp plant, which is a cousin of the marijuana plant and primarily used in fabric and construction. Both hemp and marijuana are members of the cannabis sativa family. CBD does not cause psychoactive effects but can relieve pain and anxiety. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the compound that gets users high, is in much greater concentrations in the marijuana plant than in hemp.

Cannabis was used in Chinese medicine thousands of years ago. Chinese surgeon Hua Tuo (c. 145-208) is credited with the first recorded use of cannabis as an anesthetic during surgery.

States that have legalized recreational marijuana are looking for it to produce tax revenues and jobs. In Massachusetts, the state legislature expects tax revenues to reach $63 million annually. Combined sales medical and recreational marijuana in Colorado, the first state to legalize recreational use of marijuana in 2012, exceeded $1 billion as of August 2018, with tax revenue from those sales $200 million, according to the state.

‘Horrible history’

Despite more states legalizing marijuana for recreational use and growing public support, numerous groups are resisting and even attempting to roll back laws in states where marijuana is legal. Their main concern: Fully allowing recreational marijuana use would make pot far too accessible and expand its use and misuse.

Kevin Sabet is the president and CEO of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, which opposes recreational use policies and is the country’s leading anti-legalization group.

“If we were a country with a history of being able to promote moderation in our consumer use of products, or promote responsible corporate advertising or no advertising, or if we had a history of being able to take taxes gained from a vice (industries) and redirect them into some positive areas, I might be less concerned about what I see happening in this country. But I think we have a horrible history of dealing with these kinds of things,” he said.

The American Anti-Drug Council opposes legalization of marijuana for both recreational and medical purposes, warning that there can be dire consequences for those who get addicted to marijuana.

Cannabis becomes new ‘green gold rush’ in US Legal medical and recreational markets will be worth $23.4 billion by 2022 It’s known by multiple names-marijuana, weed, pot and cannabis. But a

The rise of the marijuana gold rush

With marijuana rapidly becoming mainstream and legal, Andrew Sacks-Hoppenfeld explores some of the interesting developments in weed-based supplements and food.

We’re currently witnessing a marijuana gold rush, with companies betting huge amounts of money on the industry.

In 2012 the first states, Colorado and Washington, legalized recreational marijuana for adults. This was the beginning of a steady movement that now has over 50% of states in the USA (currently 29) legalizing recreational marijuana use in some form.

In this modern day marijuana gold rush, companies are betting huge amounts of money on the industry. These investments have resulted in a new understanding of the marijuana plant itself, its many chemical varients and how they can be used for a wide range of purposes.

Food products are just one of the most interesting, and potentially profitable applications of marijuana. The most common and well known form of food product associated with marijuana is the edible—often a sugary treat that gets you really, really high. While most people probably think of brownies when talking about marijuana edibles, there are endless ways marijuana can be infused into food and not always in a way that gets the consumer—‘high’.

THC is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana but there are also CBDs, the group of chemicals used for most of the medicinal applications of the plant. Any dispensary in a state with medicinal or recreational marijuana laws will have a wide range of edible products from baked goods to candies, sodas and other snack foods, not all of which are solely meant to get you ripped.

Infusing food with cannabis has left the dorm room and entered the American kitchen.

Most people probably think of brownies when talking about marijuana edibles but there are endless ways marijuana can be infused into food.

Apart from THC and CBD, scientists have also started to extract aromatic terpenes from the plants. Terpenes are the fragrant oils that give cannabis it’s pungent smell and taste. Just a few drops of terpene concentrate can add tremendous and unique flavor to foods.

Bong Appetit, a show on Viceland, explores how chefs can incorporate various parts of the plant into traditional dishes. The show invites professionals and famous chefs from around the country to cook a marijuana infused meal from their weed kitchen in California. These high-end meals use THC, CBD, terpenes and raw plant matter to create balanced and delicious meals that just happen to include marijuana.

The trend is also penetrating far beyond the traditional food market, influencing more unexpected markets such as pet food and treats. CBD, the non-psychoactive element in marijuana is being used to treat canine anxiety. Instead of feeding your dog Xanax or Prozac (yes, that’s a thing) you can feed them low-dose marijuana treats, tested to achieve the same calming and anxiety reducing effect as a wide range of pharmaceuticals and narcotics, all while boasting fewer side effects and no risk of addiction.

The monetary and technological investment in marijuana based products has resulted in new uses for a plant that was once considered a ‘gateway drug’. These advances are demonstrating that marijuana can be used and consumed in myriad ways.

With today’s consumers taking a more open minded approach to the plant, its use in food products is driving innovation, creativity and revenue for a new market estimated to be worth $31.4 billon by 2021, according to a report by Brightfield Group, a cannabis market research firm.

With marijuana rapidly becoming mainstream and legal, Andrew Sacks-Hoppenfeld explores some of the interesting developments in weed-based supplements and food.