This past week, the Hall of Flowers B2B show in Palm Springs was the hot spot for cannabis industry folk to showcase their products, make deals with buyers and retailers, and smoke copious amounts of weed amidst the foothills of the California desert.
The popular event was canceled in 2020 (thanks to Covid) but picked up again this year as if nothing had changed.
But, of course, a ton has changed. The market is more consolidated than ever, supply chain problems are wreaking havoc, the price of flower is down, and theft has surfaced as a major problem from dispensaries to grows.
However, this hasn’t crushed the spirits of many cannabis professionals who are generally an optimistic bunch. I wandered the floor and asked any decision-maker who would talk to me about their predictions for the industry in 2022. Here’s what they said.
Number one, we should reach federal legalization, hopefully. The banking system is now starting to catch up, and things are starting to be put in place to better support and serve cannabis brands. Number two, I think that a lot of the CHADS of the cannabis industry should start going belly up. And the guys who are supposed to be here—the true brands, the connoisseur brands, the true cultivators, distributors, and culture folks— that cream is starting to rise to the top. I’m predicting by the end of 2020, you should have a much more healthy cannabis culture and product out in the market.
—Chris Ball, CEO and Founder of Ball Family Farms
Chris Ball and author Jon Small
I really see more opportunity for building national brands. I think Nancy Silverman from Wana Brands has really led the way for women to take on multi-state operations.
—Karli Warner, Co-founder, and CMO of The Garden Society
There’s going to be a lot more personalization for the consumer. Not only are there going to be more amazing brands coming to market, but there’s going to be a big play around things like terpenes that really enhance the flavor profiles, that help personalize cannabis to the consumer itself.
—Nathan Johnson, CEO and founder of Maison Bloom
I think you’re going to see The Safe Banking Act get approved, and I think there might be a possibility that cannabis will be moving down the schedule chain, which will help with some more research for veterans.
—Bryan Buckley, CEO, and founder of Helmand Valley Growers Company
We’ll see a lot of small farmers falling out of the market. The small farmers, in particular, have had a really hard time as everything has gotten big and corporate and the prices have fallen. We’re working really hard to work with small farmers, have a place for their biomass to go, so they can stay in the industry and still make money.
—Thomas Angely, CEO of Emerald Bay Extracts
The momentum for cannabis will continue to build, and now psychedelics are joining the party. Our culture is shifting towards an openness to plant medicine that has been generally closed. Stereotypes are also starting to change. The industry was telling men to get high because it feels good, but telling women to get high because you’re anxious and you can’t sleep and you are broken in some way. In 2022, it’s imperative to meet women with a message that you can get high for the joy and euphoria also.
—Allison Krongard, co-founder of Her Highness
We’re going to see a downward pressure on the black market so hopefully that will push people to the rec market. The cost of flower has really taken a hit over the last couple of months. There’s just such a massive flood and so much overproduction. We’ll probably see some folks do really well, but we’ll also see a lot of folks continue to struggle and potentially exit the business. Due to that, we’ll probably see prices come back up in the middle of next year.
—Dustin Milner, CEO of Better Than Good
We’re going to see the first half of the year continue to be pretty rough on the wholesale market. We’ve got some significant supply and backstock there. The most efficient and the scaled operators are going to come out of that probably stronger than they went into it. The pricing will start to stabilize when it comes back to more sustainable levels. We’re going to get back on a growth curve from the retail point of view; we’ll see a doubling of the number of retail doors that will open. And we’ll probably see the first stages of federal legalization in late 2022.
—Graham Farrar President, co-founder, and Chief Cannabis Officer, Glass House.
You’re going to see the consolidation of retail. A lot of standalone shops will be absorbed by bigger companies. Something else that I’m looking forward to in 2022 is the rise of new products versus just flower and edibles—beverages, sublinguals, and other ways to ingest cannabis.
—Cheyne Nadeau, VP of Marketing for Hervé,
A lot of the new emerging dispensaries are starting to say, ‘We’re looking for new, interesting, diverse things to add to our repertoire,’ including edibles, skincare, drinks. Your typical dispensary now is really catering to the heavy hitters and the big brands, because that’s where the marketing money is spent. But in 2022 we’ll see a bifurcation of the market with the artisanal shops and the big-dollar shops.
—Letham Woodward, CEO of Sense Distribution
On the non-plant-touching side, we’re going to see a lot of hardware innovation in 2022—more vape carts, more batteries, and more heat-not-burn innovation coming into the category. We’re also going to see more brands offering owned digital platforms, in which you’re going to need to see digital media driving traffic engagement and consumers and clicks.
—Shannon Reed, CMO of Omura
A creative activation on the Hall of Flowers grounds