MJBizMag January 2021 - 42

New Year, New Opportunities
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will take
over the White House this month. As
a U.S. senator, Harris sponsored the
MORE Act and SAFE Banking Act.
Cannabis professionals have a lot to
look forward to in 2021, but success
will require being mindful of several
key factors:
* Cannabis businesses being
declared essential, electoral
victories and a larger pool of mature
companies have restored investor
confidence in the sector.
L
et's face it: As terrible as 2020 was
for numerous business sectors,
it was surprisingly good for the
cannabis industry in multiple ways.
And the good things that happened for
cannabis in 2020 should carry into the
new year, setting the stage for burgeoning
markets and business opportunities in
the United States and around the globe.
U.S. cannabis companies begin the
year on stronger footing-this after
most states with legal marijuana markets
declared MJ businesses " essential " in
2020, allowing them to remain open
during the coronavirus pandemic and
the stay-at-home orders it prompted.
The essential designation took a chunk
out of the stigma around marijuana
and made it more acceptable and
accessible to millions of Americans-a
long-term impact that is harder to
measure but arguably more important
than the financial gains of one year. The
government-sanctioned designation also
buoyed investor confidence in the space.
Investors now believe there is a better
selection of stronger, well-run companies
than before.
On top of the essential designation,
new marijuana markets were approved
in a mix of blue and red states in 2020. In
October, Vermont became the 11th state
to legalize recreational marijuana after
lawmakers approved an adult-use market
and Gov. Phil Scott allowed the legislation
to become law. The next month, voters
approved recreational marijuana
markets in Arizona, Montana and New
Jersey. Mississippi voters OK'd medical
marijuana, and South Dakota residents
approved both MMJ and adult use.
That clean sweep on Election Day
could generate more than $2.5 billion in
annual medical and recreational cannabis
sales by 2024.
" With the passage of these initiatives,
one-third of the population now lives in
jurisdictions that have legalized cannabis
for adult use, and 70% of all states have
embraced cannabis for medical use, "
Steve Hawkins, executive director of the
Marijuana Policy Project, declared after
the Nov. 3 vote.
While those states begin building their
new cannabis industries, entrepreneurs
have a plethora of existing markets
where regulators are planning dramatic
expansions in available licenses,
including California and Illinois.
In Washington DC, meanwhile,
the Biden administration moves into
the Oval Office amid hopes among
cannabis industry executives that
federal marijuana reform might be more
forthcoming.
Around the world, fresh business
opportunities look to be on the way
after the United Nations in December
reclassified cannabis as a less dangerous
drug. Indeed, the blockbuster merger
announced last month between
Canadian companies Aphria and Tilray
42 Marijuana Business Magazine | January 2021
* Investors might feel more bullish,
but they are also more fastidious
with their investment picks and are
seeking out mature companies
that are profitable and boast
experienced management teams.
* As the cannabis industry matures,
stabilizes and moves into the
mainstream, business executives
need to follow economic
indicators-consumer spending and
interest rates among them-just like
other mainstream companies.
* Entrepreneurs seeking
opportunities will find them in
existing markets where local
and/or state officials are increasing
the number of available licenses,
such as California and Illinois.
* Newly approved medical and
recreational marijuana markets in
six states-Arizona, Mississippi,
Montana, New Jersey, South
Dakota and Vermont-will offer
fresh business opportunities
starting this year.
is recognition of the improved global
outlook for cannabis.
All in all, the cannabis industry
landscape appears vastly different
entering 2021 than it did one year ago,
offering business owners and investors
a reset of sorts from the turbulence of
2020. In the following pages, Marijuana
Business Magazine breaks down that new
landscape, looking at what it offers and
how entrepreneurs can take advantage of
the new year.
Omar Sacirbey is a reporter for
Marijuana Business Magazine.
You can reach him at
omar.sacirbey@mjbizdaily.com.

MJBizMag January 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of MJBizMag January 2021

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