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Now that this ridiculously challenging and chaotic year is finally drawing to a close, we look to the future. It’s difficult to know what lies ahead for the world at large, but a little easier to make predictions for an industry we know so well. To that end, we reached out to some of our favorite speakers from MJ Unpacked, as well as other industry luminaries, and asked what they foresee for the year ahead.

Roy Bingham
Roy Bingham, Executive Chairman and Co-Founder of BDSA

Roy Bingham: “Cannabis will be the US’s most innovative and fastest growing consumer products industry. Hundreds of new brands and thousands of new products will be launched into this exciting growth opportunity. In California during the first nine months of 2020, licensed dispensaries sold 24,000 unique cannabis products, compared to 17,000 for the same period in 2019 — a pace of 19 new unique products launched each day! These products were developed by 1,020 unique brands, as compared to 824 brands in 2019. California will be only 15% of the total USA cannabis market in 2021. BDSA predicts nationally tens of thousands of new products in 2021 from several thousand new brands.”

Bridget May
Bridget May, CEO of Green Bee Botanicals

Bridget May: “I predict we’ll see more skincare in dispensaries. Green Bee Botanicals was one of the first back in 2015 but we’re still one of only a small handful of cannabis brands with face skincare on the market. As more dispensaries learn how huge and growing the market is for both clean skincare (non-toxic ingredients, transparent labels) and cannabis/hemp/CBD skincare, they’ll understand it’s in their self-interest to procure and promote it.”

Tucky Blunt Jr.
Tucky Blunt Jr., Owner of Oakland’s Blunts + Moore

Tucky Blunt Junior: “My predictions for 2021 are more like goals… With covid-19, it’s hard to predict anything. But I plan to be a household name in 2021. Looking forward to continuing to build all of my brands, partnerships, and network. I want to use my platform to inspire others, and I can predict that I’ll do an excellent job.”

Marji Chimes
Marji Chimes, Chief Marketing Officer of Coda Signature

Marji Chimes: “Here’s my three predictions: One: Party Time! Live events will come back this summer and we will all celebrate! Two: Manufacturers from western mature states will raise the bar on product innovation, branding, and marketing and consumers will benefit. Three: Retailers will get increasingly savvy about their online presence and will innovate around the digital customer experience.  Watch out Amazon.”

Denise De Nardi
Denise De Nardi, Chief Sales Officer of Native Roots Cannabis Company

Denise De Nardi: “Six predictions for the Colorado market…One: The field will continue to narrow and competition will heighten due to consolidation. Two: Companies such as ours will seek a deeper understanding of consumer lifestyle habits in order to innovate and produce relevant products. Three: Changes in buying habits as a result of the pandemic have created new opportunities for no contact methods of purchase. Four: An increased awareness of self care will lead to a better educated consumer. Five: Delivery and hospitality will be a focus in Colorado in 2021. Six: Increased differentiation in retail store formats will create new shopping experiences.

Sparky Rose
Sparky Rose, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Supercritical

Sparky Rose and partners: “Supercritical expects continued legalization across the US, which in turn will increase investor appetite for public and private market allocations into the sector. Like many industries led by consumer demand, consolidation will occur across various MSOs and the manufacturers and producer partners they contract with. Should the Biden administration deschedule or federally legalize cannabis in 2021, Supercritical envisions larger established CPG companies entering the space and acquiring strong brands, not necessarily large operators, of which there are very few in the industry. In addition, cannabis companies that seek to differentiate themselves will find it necessary to practice sustainability measures from plant to package as investors continue to put an ESG lens on their allocation decisions.”

Nancy Whiteman
Nancy Whiteman, CEO of Wana Brands

Nancy Whiteman: “The industry sits at a pivotal moment, with an opportunity to address the wrongs from the racist War on Drugs. The 2020 death of George Floyd and many other Black Americans at the hands of police provided a stark reminder of how much work is left to be done before we achieve racial justice. Self-reflection can be painful as we acknowledge and address bias within the industry, but it is work that we know we must do. Businesses will continue to learn and improve across all areas of operations, creating a more just, equitable industry. States will also make progress on this front. State-level social equity licensing programs are imperfect but improving as we learn what does and does not work. We also will see an increased focus on the expungement of low-level cannabis offenses that disproportionately impact Black, Indigenous and People of Color.”

Lindsay Robinson
Lindsay Robinson, Executive Director of California Cannabis Industry Association

Lindsay Robinson: “Though this year has been unprecedented, we are confident the cannabis industry will emerge from this difficult period with a stronger foundation and an optimism we haven’t seen in quite some time. However, in order to achieve our goals we need to work together and unite around the common issues affecting all operators in California. This coming year, CCIA will be focusing on provisional licensing issues, wildfire relief, tax reform, hemp regulations, and of course, continuing to break down barriers to entry, especially for those in the Social Equity community. 2021 presents a unique opportunity to build coalitions and work together to solidify the strong industry we want to see, and that voters were promised when they passed Proposition 64.”

Onell Crawford
Onell Crawford, International Business Development – Emerging Markets at Greentank Technologies

Onell Crawford: “I do predict that some of these large players with deep pockets are going to start gobbling up the smaller players. And the industry is going to get a lot smaller in terms of the number of players…but larger as far as reach. From a vape standpoint, I think live resin is going to be a huge category…it’s  a broader spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes, and a much more enjoyable experience…I think smaller gram cartridges are going to dominate as cannabis curious consumers come on board. Maybe a .3 or .35 type of cartridge.”

Ricardo Baca
Ricardo Baca, Founder and CEO of Grasslands

Ricardo Baca: “Out of the ashes of a global pandemic, government regulators and officials finally caught up with we-the-people and declared cannabis an essential industry in 2020. So now that we’re all (finally) in agreement that cannabis is medicine and access to that medicine must be guaranteed, let us in 2021 further explore the multifaceted efficacy of this medicine the same way we would research any other groundbreaking treatment. Look at the gift scientific research just gave us in the form of multiple efficacious Covid vaccines developed in record time. Imagine if we employed 1/1,000,000th of that scientific capital on researching cannabis as a medicine for those suffering from chronic pain, inflammation and so much more. Think about it: We understand less than 1 percent of what this plant has to offer us as mammals. The future is bright, but first we need to invest in the research, and I am hopeful that investment becomes more serious, from the regulators especially, in 2021.”

Christine De La Rosa
Christine De La Rosa, CEO and National Co-founder of The People’s Dispensary

Christine De La Rosa: “Cannabis will continue to explode with higher and higher revenues. Now is the time to invest in small companies doing big things rather than reinvesting into inflated companies who are looking to cover past overspending. Start fresh.”

Joe Caltabiano
Joe Caltabiano, Co-founder of Cresco Labs and Founder of JSC Fund

Joe Caltabiano: “SPACs will likely be the vehicle through which we see massive consolidation in the cannabis brand space in 2021. Already, we’ve seen MTech— which became Akerna—and Ayr Strategies successfully raise a lot of capital using this method. More recently, the historic Subversive Capital deal captured headlines for its potential to consolidate California’s cannabis market while building social equity and supporting Black-owned businesses. A lot of good can come from SPACs, if done right.”

Alana Malone
Alana Malone, Co-founder and CEO of Green Dot Labs

Alana Malone: “Cannabis connoisseurs have long known that ‘indica’ and ‘sativa’ labels are imprecise and rudimentary at best, and now everyday cannabis consumers are catching on to this fact. In 2021, consumers will increasingly look to plant genetics for their authentic cannabis flavor profiles and effects–not an outdated, binary category system–when making purchasing decisions.”

Keith Stephenson
Keith Stephenson, Founder and CEO of Purple Heart

Keith Stephenson: “My insight is that the cannabis market will grow and that a few more MSOs will have taken on too much debt.”

Dan Banks
Dan Banks, Director of Cultivation Strategy at Lightshade

Dan Banks: “In the next year, there will be an increased consumer interest in rare and exclusive cultivars, and the cannabis industry will look to address this interest…we anticipate more name brand recognition in the flower market and more of a demand for new and exclusive strains.”

Courtney Maltais

Courtney Maltais: “It’s an interesting time…We’re kind of coming into a new time in general in the world when connection and access to information is so important, especially when we’re so distanced. Something that I’ve found really interesting in the industry this year has been on the education front. There’s so many new platforms for people to gain access to consumer-based education. A lot of these new classes are empowering people to grow their own or infuse their own edibles, and we’re even seeing new programs launching at university level…I think we’re going to see a renaissance of the home experience for cannabis education.”

Ryan Brown
Ryan Brown, CEO, Native Roots Cannabis Company

Ryan Brown: “Local conservative counties and cities in states that have legalized adult use cannabis are going to seriously consider legalization with tax as the major driver for consideration. Cannabis will be decriminalized, but won’t be fully federally legalized in 2021. Reforms such as the More and States Acts will continue to grow supporters but will be stalled in the Senate for 2021. At least one yet to be announced mega merger in US cannabis MSOs will take place. M&A activity in Colorado will continue to ramp with several MSOs announcing entrance into the state.”

George Jage
George Jage, CEO of Jage Media

George Jage: “Live events will start to return in Q2 in states that have not effectively “masked up” during the pandemic (OK, GA, FL,, but a majority will not return until Q3.  This will create a year’s worth of events competing in a 5-6 month window.  Significant sub segmentation will develop within the industry favoring events with focused content and qualified attendees where the large pan-industry events with entry-level content see 50%+ decline over 2019 participation.”

Etienne Fontan
Etienne Fontan, Vice President of Berkeley Patients Group

Etienne Fontan: “The only thing predictable about next year is that it will be completely unpredictable. Stay lean and flexible, be able to pivot at a moment’s notice.”