Amid industry layoffs and cash crunches, top cannabis pros consider what lies ahead in 2023

2022 was a mixed bag for the legal cannabis industry. Numerous companies were hit by redundancies, a cash crisis and increasing debt. Conversely, there were highlights, as more states legalized adult use and President Biden announced that he would pardon all people convicted of possession under federal law from 1992 to 2021.

So what does 2023 look like for the industry? Looking through their crystal balls, several top-level professionals – Chenae Bullock, CEO of Little Beach Harvest, a Southampton, New York-based medical cannabis dispensary for the Shinnecock Nation; Leah Heise, founder and CEO of Gemini Twin Consulting, a cannabis consulting firm; and Victor Guadagnino Jr., co-founder/chief business development officer of Keystone Canna Remedies, a Pennsylvania-based medical marijuana dispensary chain — offer their forecasts.

Iris Dorbian: Aside from legalization/decriminalization, do you have any cannabis-related forecasts or predictions for 2023 that you’d like to share?

Chenae Bullock: Access to capital has been very difficult this year. Inflation has hurt the registers and problems with 280e have all taken their toll on cannabis companies, which will push business combinations and other M&A deals forward, as we are seeing with Cresco and Columbia Care.

Leah Heise: Awareness of psychedelics will surpass cannabis in 2023 due to lower planning and the more medical focus of the products right now.

Victor Guadagnino Jr.: We will see an increase in the popularity of brands and franchisees, and I hope we see quality products scale with the market. I believe that sustainable brands, in terms of growing practices and packaging, will also become more popular with the consumer, and I hope to see the industry trend that way as well.

Dorbian: What are you looking forward to in 2023?

Ox: Movement at the federal level needs to happen. The industry is hindered by the draconian politics of DC, which must obtain what the citizens of the country want, which is legal cannabis.

The industry is starting to figure out consumer salons. This will be an important aspect of the market, but no one has quite figured it out yet.

Expansion of the product range is critical. Continuous progress in the beverage industry is one of these ways. Microdosing and products that combine with other ingredients to create even more potent medicine will be crucial to attracting new consumers.

Dorbian: Who are some people/companies/organizations to watch out for in 2023?

Ox: I think what Diddy is putting together is super interesting and it will be great to see how it unfolds.

Hoist: For Cannabis, Devon Richardson, Safe Arbor, ProCanna, Jessica Billingsley, Jamie Pearson. For psychedelics, Mark Passerini, Kristen Celko, Jonathon Cherkoss. I am in love with MariMed’s Betty’s Eddies. They are delicious. I also love Ripple.

Guadagnino Jr.: GTI, RAW, Cookies, PAX, Puffco and Dutchie.

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