December 23, 2021

Cannabis Industry 2022: Trends, New Markets & Challenges

3min read

Prohibition Partners hosted the Cannabis Industry 2022: Trends, New Markets & Challenges webinar earlier this month, in partnership with Always Pure Organics.

The cannabis industry changes quickly, and 2021 has been no exception. As this significant year for the industry draws to a close, we’re taking a look back at our Cannabis Industry 2022: Trends, New Markets & Challenges webinar, in partnership with Always Pure Organics on 7 December.

Managing Director of Business of Cannabis, Jay Rosenthal, hosted the webinar which featured a panel consisting of: Gavin Ogilvie (Founder & CEO, Always Pure Organics), Stephen Murphy (Co-Founder & CEO, Prohibition Partners), Jordan Greenberg (CEO, Yooma Wellness) and Clifton Flack (CEO, CiiTECH Group)

Adult-Use Legalisation in Europe

2021 saw the first European countries making moves towards legalising adult-use cannabis. Malta officially became the first EU state to legalise adult-use cannabis earlier this month, with Luxembourg and Germany also pledging to legalise.

As highlighted in the recently-published The Global Cannabis Report: Second Edition, some other European countries are also beginning to test the waters with legalisation of adult-use cannabis. The two most advanced of these are the Netherlands and Switzerland, with both countries preparing for legal pilot trials.

Gavin Ogilvie, Founder & CEO of Always Pure Organics, said: “Following the news coming out of Germany recently, it [legalisation] is very much a hot topic of conversation and, with that, it’s attracted a lot of investment and business interest. So I think we’re going to see a massively increased recreational cannabis conversation across Europe.

It seems plausible that progressive legislative changes in the aforementioned countries could start an adult-use legalisation domino effect across Europe, in a similar way to what we have witnessed with medical cannabis in Europe and adult-use cannabis in the US.

Brand Building and Brand Equity

Next year, with the market maturing and both medical and adult-use cannabis becoming more widespread, our panelists said they expect to see cannabis companies focusing more and more on brand building in 2022 and beyond.

Clifton Flack, CEO of CiiTECH, said: “The medical cannabis industry has neglected the concept of building consumer brands. And now I think that regulation is changing around the world, I think we’ll see much more of a focus on brands.

Gavin Oglive said he, too, believes we’ll see more of a focus on branding in the cannabis industry, and that with the European industry “beginning to legitimise itself” there is a necessity to build compelling brands and communities.

Normalisation

While good progress on ‘normalisation’ is being made in North America, there is still work to be done in other regions around the world, especially in some parts of Europe like the UK. All panelists agreed that normalisation would be a key trend next year, as the industry looks to move into its next phase of growth.

Stephen Murphy, Co-Founder & CEO of Prohibition Partners, said: “The whole taboo around cannabis isn’t as strong as it was five or ten years ago. I think that normalisation, and certainly the regularity of conversations being had in the mainstream media, has helped to destigmatize the drug. But, you do still have this lack of understanding as to the separation, the purpose of medical, the purpose of adult-use. That slows down how quickly change can occur.

As highlighted by Stephen Murphy during the webinar, although in places like the UK there has certainly been a positive, albeit minimal, shift away from stigmatisation of cannabis and cannabis use, there is still a lot of education to do.

CiiTECH’s Clifton Flack agreed: “It’s not quite happened yet [normalisation in the UK and Europe]. It started to happen before [the pandemic], but I think next year we’ll see a lot of normalisation.

Regulatory Clarity and Capital Market Stability

All the panelists agreed we’ll see an increase in progressive, new legislation and regulations next year, which will provide clarity for existing markets and form the basis of new ones. Japan is “seeing regulatory clarity” and there are “rumours they’re opening up the CBD market,” said Jordan Greenberg, CEO of Yooma Wellness.

Greenberg also noted that this regulatory clarity will “provide stability in the capital markets,” and that “those regulations will also serve to really establish who are the players that are operating to the highest regulatory standards and highest quality standards, and it will really serve as the catalyst for your further shakeout within the industry

Stephen Murphy agreed that stability of capital markets will be hugely important in 2022, and that 2021 hasn’t been a great year for capital which has made raising capital difficult. But, Murphy said “we’re on the cusp of it changing” and was encouraged by the companies coming to market now.

Cannabis Industry 2022: Trends, New Markets & Challenges

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