Cannabis in 2024: Projections and Predictions from Industry Pros

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Written by: Olivia Swann

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With the holidays right around the corner and another year coming to a close, it’s a great time to revisit the predictions made by NisonCo and our clients in the cannabis industry last year. NisonCo’s network of industry experts has accurately predicted several industry trends in previous years. Accordingly, we’re keeping the tradition strong by asking a slew of cannabis specialists what we can expect from the industry in 2024.

This year’s responses ran the cannabis industry gamut from federal legislation predictions to AI impacts, cultivation considerations, supply chain warnings, and the latest consumer tech. Read on for a glimpse into 2024’s cannabis outlook from top industry pros.


2024 Cannabis Industry Market Trends and Growth 

How Will the Global and/or United States Cannabis Market Evolve in 2024?

The prospect of changes in legality at the federal level continues to dramatically impact everything from the news cycle to public and private U.S. markets. [Potential federal legislation] impacts the global market on many levels: branding, manufacturing, supply chain, international trade and — most of all — access to capital markets. Cannabis will continue to be ‘more legal’ tomorrow than today; it’s a question of the expediency of change’s velocity. We don’t expect to see substantial movement until close to November’s general election.

Richard Batenburg Jr, CEO & Chairman, The Clear Brands

The United States will continue to carry the edge [in concentrate production] because we drive innovation behind those marketplaces. When you operate in many other countries, regulations are firm, but enforcement is loose. In the United States, that’s a recipe for disaster.

Matt Armstrong, Director of Innovation, Prodigy Processing Solutions


Will Cannabis Market Consumer Preferences and Demands Shift in 2024?

[Consumer preferences] will continue to be fragmented from state to state. Brands continue to be popular in a microcosm. You continue to see that people are very selective in their consumer choices in terms of what they’re looking for — What effects [they want] to feel, and what medicinal purposes they may be interested in. Education continues to be big.

Adam Hutchinson, Founder, CannaSpyglass


How Will American Cannabis Cultivators Embrace Change in 2024?

By the end of 2024, there will be more talk about needing to venture off from essentially this one genetic family tree everyone’s growing in. [At Mello], we’re hunting all these different family trees right now. We’re bringing stuff from Hawaii, Thailand and different genetic blends from places like Cali and Oregon. We’re super stoked on our Hawaii and Thailand stuff because they are genetics that not as many people have or have ever even experienced or seen. 

2023 was great. We popped over 5000 seeds in the last year, and I’ve hunted every single one of those seeds with a good six or so [ultimately selected for cultivation] out of that batch. Many were beautiful plants, but not quite standouts as to be winners. The fact that we found a couple, are trimming them all up right now and about to present them to the world — That is amazing.

Tyler McCain, Technical Director and Part-Owner, Mello Cannabis


Adam Hutchinson, Founder of CannaSpyglass, makes a cannabis consumer preference prediction for 2024.


2024 Cannabis Regulation and Legalization

Which Cannabis Legislative Movements Are You Watching?

We’re going in a great direction. There’s still a lot of galvanizing that needs to happen. A lot of organizations — whether trade, advocacy, or whatever — are starting to realize we all need to work together. And I think that’s going to push us over these damn finish lines in different states as well as federally.

Mike Lomuto, Advocate and Host, NCIA’s Cannabis Minority Report Podcast 

Based on the state regulations pushing sustainable packaging, this truly is the year, and people will be more thoughtful about what is actually sustainable as opposed to greenwashing it and trying to fake it. [Voters are] really going to be more serious about what is sustainable, and we will see more activity in that area. 

Michael Markarian, CEO, Contempo Specialty Packaging

Navigating the cannabis industry always poses new challenges, and we expect 2024 to be no expectation. Changes in regulations, especially at the federal and state levels, might bring uncertainty and compliance issues. Amidst the industry’s growth, potential regulatory overreach looms as a concern, prompting businesses to stay vigilant and adaptable to unforeseen compliance burdens. Additionally, maintaining consistent product quality, meeting more stringent testing requirements for pesticides and contaminants, and ensuring smooth supply chain operations could be quite demanding. Access to banking services remains extremely restricted for many cannabis businesses, hindering the growth and stability of a state’s ecosystem.

Tyler Clarke, VP of Operations, The Clear Brands


What Countries and States Will Regulate in 2024?

I try not to make any predictions because things shift and change all the time. Still, I think in 2024, we’re going to see Minnesota really emerge as the leader in setting up policies and regulations that are sensible and that can actually be implemented the right way. 

Hopefully, we will see SAFER Banking get across that finish line, too. I think it’s possible.

Mike Lomuto, Advocate and Host, NCIA’s Cannabis Minority Report Podcast 

We’re excited to see how things start to roll out in New York, where they will be releasing all those licenses and centering sustainable packaging. We’re pretty excited about that because it’s just been a waiting game for us. [When] California or New York does something, the rest of the country follows suit. If consumers in California demand changes in car emissions and the [state] government makes changes, every auto manufacturer will do it because California is a big market. New York is such a big market, so other states will follow suit if they’re making [sustainability] demands.

James Eichner, CSO, Sana Packaging


2024 Cannabis Product Innovation, Research and Technology

Which Cannabis Product Development Trends Will Gain Traction this Year?

In the vape space, we will see an increase in “wickless” atomizers that will further increase flavor. We will also see a shift toward more all-in-one devices as precious oils become more complex, and the need to match specific variables between voltages, air flow, ohms, and PCBA increases.

Trey Kavooras, Founder, TPK Ceramics

To stand out as a brand in categories that make up the majority of sales, I believe the focus of innovation is shifting toward improving the functionality and end-consumer experience. While many brands will be making the same types of final products — which, in the case of edibles, would be gummies — we will continue to see product development focused on creating unique or superior consumer experiences gain traction.

James Granger, CPO, Cliintel Capital


What Cannabis Technology and AI Impacts Do You Predict in 2024?

In 2024, if our industry doesn’t start making advancements in technology at the same rate other industries do, the field will narrow drastically. Automation is at the forefront of every mind. We live in an industry that is labor intensive but doesn’t need to be. We need more innovation. If people actually put the research and development into their products instead of pushing a product without the R&D, development would move forward quickly.

Matt Armstrong, Director of Innovation, Prodigy Processing Solutions

From a technology perspective, there’s an industry maturity curve. [Cannabis is a] very immature industry overall, with very fragmented, siloed technologies. So you don’t have a [single] technology that does all kinds of things, whether point of sale, data mining, inventory or pipeline control, classifying grow yield type, or maximizing yields. [In response,] there’ll be consolidation in the industry as companies come together. 

Adam Hutchinson, Founder, CannaSpyglass

While AI could be helpful when used as a search function to identify regulatory changes, commercial-scale software or manufacturing equipment built to accommodate an existing process and regulatory landscape runs the risk of becoming obsolete quickly. To that end, any technology that can reliably automate a task within cannabis will be valuable, but only to the degree that the technology can be updated and adapted to meet the industry’s constant regulatory and market shifts.

James Granger, CPO, Cliintel Capital

AI has already gained a foothold in the cannabis industry and is set to become a noteworthy part of growing online sales in 2024. Many cannabis consumers still need education about basic cannabis fundamentals. AI will answer the call by educating consumers and tailoring specific product recommendations based on consumers’ inquiries and purchase history.

Duffy Graham, SEO Account Manager, NisonCo

Specifically with AI, I see it already has had a large-scale impact on how people do business or communicate. It will continue to impact us in a wide range of ways, but I think it’s a few years off before it is something that people are fully reliant on or really drives the business forward instead of being a tool that people use in their business.

Mike Bologna, CEO, Green Lion Partners and Dip Devices


2024 Cannabis Investment and Finance Trends

What Types of  Cannabis Businesses Will Attract Investors in 2024?

Cannabis companies producing positive cash flow with no high-interest debt on their books and in segments of the cannabis supply chain that are durable during market expansion and regulatory change. Specifically brands and companies that control distribution.

Rick Batenburg III, Founder and CIO, Cliintel Capital

We’re definitely moving to a world where EBITDA and cash flow matter, as opposed to the hype and pumping up of stock because you have a certain number of licenses. That is a very real thing happening right now.

ESG is another element, as investors are looking at sustainable brands. We’ve had people come to us saying, “I want to form a connection with Contempo because we are not going to invest in any companies that don’t have sustainable packaging or don’t make sustainability priorities.” That’s now on investors’ minds, which will also make companies and brands pay more attention to that.

Michael Markarian, CEO, Contempo Specialty Packaging


Do You Anticipate Any Broad Financial Movements in Cannabis in 2024? 

Now is the time for the smart money to get into cannabis as valuations have decreased, and the opportunity has never been bigger with regulatory change on the horizon and rapid attrition of cannabis companies that either failed to employ prudent capital strategy or have run out of money. Expect to see the big companies get bigger and the smaller companies consolidate.

Rick Batenburg III, Founder and CIO, Cliintel Capital


2024 Cannabis Supply Chain and Distribution

Mike Bologna, CEO of Green Lion Partners and Dip Devices, makes a cannabis supply chain prediction for 2024.

How Will Cannabis Companies Confront Sustainability Issues this Year?

Every year that the cannabis industry is in business, more and more efficiencies are gained. As the industry continues to mature, it’s natural that things work smoother and more efficiently. There are so many sustainability gains there. Even if it’s just our customers figuring out better ordering patterns and buying in quantities that make more sense from a shipping perspective, those are financial gains and sustainability gains. That [is spurred on] just as much by industry maturity as by people caring about sustainability.

James Eichner, CSO, Sana Packaging

Businesses increasingly prioritize creating high-quality consumer products with a mindful approach to their environmental footprint. Several key focus areas have emerged. [Companies] are enhancing recycling and upcycling programs within their products and production processes. There is a notable shift toward sustainable packaging solutions that are not only recyclable but also biodegradable, with a concurrent promotion of minimalist packaging designs. To minimize the carbon footprint and costs associated with transportation, companies are optimizing distribution routes and upgrading to more energy-efficient vehicles. Additionally, efforts are being directed toward curbing the substantial energy consumption associated with cultivation, shifting toward energy-efficient lighting, HVAC systems and advanced cultivation techniques.

Rick Batenburg III, Founder and CIO, Cliintel Capital


What Supply Chain Bottlenecks or Hurdles Will Impact Cannabis in 2024? 

While I don’t have a specific material or item shortage I see coming, there will be shortages, and there will be problems. We’ve seen problems with PCBs and shortages in ceramic and paper — random parts of the supply chain. Plan ahead for your most critical parts. Making sure you have stocked, tested, and regular access to a redundant supply chain is something that is not considered frequently enough in the cannabis industry. 

Mike Bologna, CEO, Green Lion Partners and Dip Devices

At the beginning, we worked with two suppliers, one for our plant-based material and one for our ocean-bound material and [sourcing] could be rocky. For a long time, if one of those suppliers couldn’t fulfill our demand, we had nowhere else to go for materials. We never got into too bad of a situation, but were definitely holding our breath a few times. Now there are multiple sources that we work with and, moreover, they have FDA approval and are all food-grade certified. The supply chain, in general, has become exponentially more robust than it was a few years ago.

James Eichner, CSO, Sana Packaging


2024 Cannabis Industry Social Equity and Inclusion

A quote from James Eichner, CSO of Sana Packaging, about cannabis sustainability.

How Can Cannabusinesses Balance Equity and Profits this Year?

I predict we will continue to see the cannabis industry consolidate through mergers and acquisitions. Therefore, I would like to see larger cannabis companies offer Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs), allowing their employees to share in the financial success and growth of these companies. This approach promotes a more equitable distribution of wealth within the industry and fosters a sense of ownership and commitment among employees, which can drive business success and innovation. 

Duffy Graham, SEO Account Manager, NisonCo

I always think of “consumer responsibility” as an idea I dislike because you’re putting the responsibility of making a better decision, whether it’s around sustainability or equity, onto the consumer. A  sustainable choice is probably going to be a little bit more expensive, and maybe the consumer can’t always afford to make that decision. And that doesn’t mean that they don’t want to be sustainable. Change in systems is top-down. If it starts with producers and manufacturers, the consumer is the last piece of this chain. If everyone from the top of the chain down to the consumer does a little more, then all the responsibility won’t be put on that consumer to make everything better. [The consumer] shouldn’t have to make this decision. They should just be presented with better options.

James Eichner, CSO, Sana Packaging


How Do Cannabis Companies Support the Local Community in 2024?

Talk to people about the things that you care about, and talk to the people who care about the same things. Get into those conversations. Get on those video calls. Go out and actually meet people at mixers. Get in the community. Get into your actual community — not just your cannabis community — and have conversations about cannabis. The more we connect with each other, get out there and talk about the things that matter to us and find others who also care about that — that’s how we build community.

Mike Lomuto, Advocate and Host, NCIA’s Cannabis Minority Report Podcast 


Thank you to all who contributed. Learn more about NisonCo and our winning suite of services here

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