2023 Emerging Trends in the Cannabis Industry

Mack Bush
February 13, 2023

The cannabis industry is constantly evolving. It’s still very new, and even insiders aren’t sure what will come next. Luckily, we can look at past performance and what’s happened in other industries to predict the new cannabis trends that will ignite the space in 2023.

Approximately 52.5 million U.S. adults used cannabis in 2021, compared to 48.2 million in 2019. It seems likely that these numbers will increase in 2023 and beyond as more states legalize recreational cannabis.

Opinions about cannabis are changing, too. In a large survey, 59% of Americans said they think both medical and recreational cannabis should be legal. An additional 30% approved of medical use. Only 10% of U.S. adults believe that marijuana should be completely illegal.

It seems like the outlook for cannabis this year is extremely promising. Let’s gaze into our crystal ball and predict where the cannabis space will go in 2023 and beyond.

Cannabis Trends Show Increased Usage

The number of cannabis users continues to grow every year, and 2023 will be no exception.

A survey conducted in 2021 showed that 25% of Canadians use cannabis. In the US, 16% of the population uses cannabis, and 48% said they’ve tried it at least once.

Market research shows that the global legal marijuana market was valued at 27.7 billion in 2022. Experts believe that the market could grow 24.3% each year until 2027, when the cannabis industry could be worth $82.3 billion.

So why does the number of cannabis enthusiasts keep skyrocketing? New states are entering the market, new products are being created and sold, and marijuana is becoming less stigmatized. All of this has led more people to discover the power of cannabis.

A woman is consuming cannabis.

Trending Cannabis Products in 2023

Cannabis users are starting to broaden their horizons and try new products. Tinctures, topicals, and capsules declined in 2022, as well as a small dip in flower sales (8%). Sales of vapes rose 5%, and beverages and edibles went up by 10%. Pre-rolls are the standout star of 2022, with sales increasing 12%. We expect that drinks, edibles, and pre-rolls will see even larger increases in 2023. 

Rise of Delta-8 & Other Cannabinoids

If current cannabis trends continue, it seems likely that minor cannabinoids like CBD and Delta-8 will see a boom in 2023.

CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that could have positive health effects, without getting you high. Hemp-derived CBD containing less than 0.3% THC is federally legal in the United States. 

Delta-8 is a form of THC that causes a milder high. Delta-8 has caught on in the United States in areas where cannabis is illegal, since it hasn’t been regulated by the government. It’s not confined to these places, though, as people are trying it in legal areas, too. 

Some say that the rise of CBD and Delta-8 will cannibalize sales from the marijuana industry in legal states. In a recent survey, 23% of current cannabis patients said that they would consider purchasing Delta-8 in the future.

Cannabis dispensaries can use the rise of minor cannabinoids to their advantage, especially in the United States. Many stores already sell CBD-only products or THC products that also contain CBD. Expanding your selection and offering new products with other cannabinoids could be a huge cannabis trend in 2023.

A variety of cannabis products like cannabis gummies, which are trending for 2023.

Legalization in New States in 2023

The legal adult-use cannabis market continues to expand, and there are a few states that will likely take the plunge in 2023.

Oklahoma might be the first state to legalize recreational marijuana in 2023. The state’s Supreme Court recently blocked an adult-use cannabis ballot measure, but hope is not lost! Governor Kevin Stitt called a special election to be held on March 7, 2023, that will have only the cannabis proposal on the ballot, so voters will be able to decide its fate directly.

Ohio has a ballot measure on the way as well. Conservative leaders tried to block the proposal on the 2022 ballot on the grounds of a signature technicality, but the organization sponsoring the ballot measure filed a lawsuit. They eventually reached a settlement that would allow the group to keep the signatures they’d already gathered (133,000), letting them pursue putting legal cannabis on the ballot in 2023.

In contrast, Minnesota and Hawaii are trying to legalize using their legislature. A legalization bill has been introduced to the Minnesota House, which many say will pass due to recent cannabis trends.

Hawaii was the sixth state to legalize medical marijuana in 2000, but its citizens still can’t access recreational weed. The state’s previous governor promised to veto any cannabis legislation, but he has since been replaced by a candidate who vowed to support cannabis reform on the campaign trail. Luckily, there are currently two pieces of legislation that could legalize cannabis in the state.

Other U.S. states where legalization is possible in 2023 include:

  • Kentucky
  • New Hampshire
  • Pennsylvania
  • Delaware
  • North Carolina
  • Texas
  • Kansas
  • Tennessee
  • South Carolina

As more legal markets launch, more people will be able to make a living in the cannabis industry, from cultivators to dispensary owners to budtenders. That means it’s even more vital to hire quality employees and keep them with your company long-term.

Cannabis Trends Show Increased Mergers & Acquisitions

When a state legalizes cannabis, hundreds of cannabis companies, growers, and dispensaries pop up overnight. Unfortunately, cannabis trends show that this can lead to a saturated market where not everyone survives.

When business becomes competitive, one option for a smaller company that’s struggling is to sell to a larger one. Sometimes two companies merge, or one business is acquired by another.

In 2021, deal amounts for these mergers and acquisitions reached $10.27 billion in total. Surprisingly, it sunk to $3.17 billion in 2022. The amount is lower because fewer deals were conducted, but also because the value of these deals decreased substantially.

In 2023, experts think that mergers and acquisitions will continue, perhaps exceeding 2022 figures, especially if deal amounts increase. States that are currently struggling with a balance of supply and demand, like Michigan, are likely to feel the most impact.

Budtender Retention & Benefits

Outstanding budtenders are a vital part of any cannabis dispensary, and more owners are starting to realize the worth of their staff. Your employees are the ones who engage with your customers on a daily basis, so hiring quality people and keeping them on board is invaluable.

Budtenders are leaving the industry in droves. One study found that 55% of budtenders moved from the cannabis industry for a different job within a one year period. It’s obvious that something has to change to retain budtenders and keep them happy.

Dispensary owners are starting to offer incentives to entice new employees and keep current ones, including higher pay, new benefits, free samples, and discounts. It can also be helpful to reduce workplace stress, approve a flexible schedule, and gamify sales metrics.

is the perfect tool for employers in the cannabis industry. Our software can track job applicants, make onboarding easy, and help you to stay compliant. Allowing us to take over these processes frees up your time and energy, allowing you to prioritize keeping your budtenders engaged and excited to come into work.

A budtender is applying for a position at a cannabis dispensary.

Biden’s Pardon Policy’s Impact on Cannabis Trends in 2023

On October 6, 2022, President Biden pardoned people who had been convicted of simple marijuana possession on a federal level. It has signaled a changing tide for recreational weed that experts believe will carry us into 2023.

Many in the cannabis industry see these pardons as a huge step forward. It’s one of the first pieces of cannabis legislation to come from the federal government, and it could lead to renewed legalization efforts.

Unfortunately, Biden’s pardon won’t help as many people as cannabis advocates hoped. It would pardon only about 6,500 people, none of whom are in jail. When you consider that 350,000 people were arrested for marijuana-related offenses in 2020, there’s still a long way to go.

Luckily, President Biden urged governors to follow suit and issue similar pardons in their states. In Illinois, JB Pritzker has expunged and pardoned over 511,000 people. In 2022, Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced that she planned to pardon over 45,000 residents with low-level cannabis offenses.

According to current cannabis trends, we predict that more measures will be taken to pardon individuals with old cannabis offenses or expunge them from their records. These vital steps will reduce the stigma around cannabis and could help more minorities enter the industry.

Conclusion: Cannabis Trends for 2023

Overall, trends in the cannabis industry are extremely positive. More consumers are trying marijuana in legal states, and more areas of the USA are on the path to legalizing recreational cannabis. When we consider Biden’s pardons, we see a much more positive landscape for cannabis in 2023.

KayaPush wants to make it easier for you to weather changing cannabis trends. We can help you hire new employees, manage payroll, and more. Book a free demo of our revolutionary cannabis software today!

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February 2023


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