It appears increasingly likely that many of the federal hurdles will soon clear, giving rise to yet another boom for the cannabis industry. Among the proposed legislation being circulated by Congress are bills that de-schedule marijuana, address tax fairness for cannabis businesses, and remove barriers to banking and scientific research. These would ostensibly lay the groundwork for a broader bill to end federal cannabis prohibition outright, which some analysts expect by the end of the year. Whether any such bills will pass is unclear, but the momentum is indisputably trending toward legalization.
Irrespective of marijuana’s Schedule I status, states are charging ahead with legalization initiatives, and legal cannabis sales have surged into the billions of dollars annually. As the legality and social acceptance of cannabis use have grown, so too have the opportunities available to businesses willing to enter the cannabis market. Meanwhile, many other businesses have adopted a wait-and-see approach, reluctant to enter the market because of the legal ambiguity, lack of regulation, cost-prohibitive taxation, banking obstacles, and longstanding misconceptions about cannabis itself.
Food for Thought
One of the fastest growing cannabis sectors, projected to exceed $4 billion in annual sales by 2021, is cannabis-infused edibles. Many cannabis consumers prefer to attain the therapeutic or intoxicating effects of cannabis through the consumption of edibles, as opposed to inhalation through smoking or other means. The diversity of edible cannabis products is striking, and includes butter, honey, chocolates, olive oil, lemon cakes, and even pizza sauce. Chefs across the country are incorporating cannabis into elaborate culinary presentations.