2020 Year in Review for Cannabis
2020 was a challenging year for many industries and the cannabis industry is no exception. But with new challenges have come new opportunities, and while COVID-19 was a major problem, the 2021 outlook is good in for companies that are continuing to invest in cannabis production and processing. Let’s take a look at how the industry changed and what we can expect this year, and beyond.
2020 Brought an Expanded Market for Legal Cannabis
In 2020, voters in New Jersey, Arizona, Montana, and South Dakota voted to legalize recreational cannabis use by adults, and Mississippi approved medical marijuana. The total number of states where marijuana is legal for adult recreational use is now 15, and Washington DC also passed a law legalizing recreational cannabis. In addition, 36 states allow cannabis to be used medically.
Enhanced Safety Measures and Production Shortages Challenged the Industry
Cannabis dispensaries had to scramble to implement safety measures like curbside pickup, mask requirements, plexiglass barriers between vendors and customers, sanitation protocols, and limits on the number of people in a store at any given time. Production facilities also had to implement similar protocols to maintain staff safety.
In addition, the supply of cannabis was strained due to high demand and the opening of new markets throughout 2020. A devastating wildfire season in the Western United States also impacted crop production and resulted in sub-optimal growing conditions for some producers..
The UN Approved the Removal of Cannabis from Schedule IV Classification
Following a 2019 recommendation from the WHO (World Health Organization), the United Nations removed cannabis from its Schedule IV classification.
This has the potential to help with medical cannabis legalization efforts worldwide, because it makes it easier for scientists to study the cannabis plant and understand its potential medicinal effects in more detail.
Cannabis Jobs Have Grown
High demand for cannabis has led to growth in jobs related to cannabis production, processing, shipping, and retail. This has also led to a higher demand for training related to the safe handling of cannabis, particularly as the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic continues to spread throughout the US.
Cannabis Becomes Essential
Eight states classified recreational and medical cannabis stores as “essential” during the COVID-19 outbreak, with a further 19 states and Washington DC allowing medical dispensaries to stay open during the pandemic. This reflects the continued and growing acceptance of cannabis in the US, as well as the economic importance of cannabis in many states where it’s legal for medical and recreational use.
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