With 2020 coming to a close, cannabis industry leaders are already looking to the new year and new business opportunities. Some see beverages as the next big thing while others believe rare cultivars will be a hit in the consumer market in 2021. PotNetwork took a look at what some of the top leaders in the industry are saying about the cannabis industry for 2021.
Christopher Shade, Ph.D., Founder & CEO, Quicksilver Scientific (Louisville)
“As it should be, in 2021 we will see a focus on immune support continue as a trend,” said Christopher Shade, Ph.D., Founder & CEO of Quicksilver Scientific. “Ultimately, we feel this focus on immune health is for the better. Although it appears a vaccine for our current health crisis is right around the corner, fortifying your immune system through wellness practices makes one better prepared for immune challenges that may arise. Many of the products Quicksilver Scientific introduced this year are helping to change regimens with regard to immune support.
Dan Banks, Director of Cultivation Strategy at Lightshade (Denver/Aurora)
Dan Banks, Director of Cultivation Strategy at Lightshade, says: “In the coming year, we anticipate more name brand recognition in the flower market and more of a demand for new and exclusive strains. We expect consumer demand for rare and exclusive cultivars to grow exponentially in 2021. To prepare for this consumer demand in 2020 Lightshade grew our library of cultivars from about two dozen to more than 75. This effort has benefited from our acquisition of Sacred Seed which included many rare and legacy strains and selective purchases from Colorado breeders like Klone. We will continue to phenotype new cultivars for potency quality, and yield to further increase our offerings throughout 2021 and beyond.”
Jesse Turner, Director of R&D, Green Mill Supercritical (Denver)
“The real victors in this will, of course, be artisan extract producers who will discover a newfound ability to make high-quality products that are consistent and safe, and to sell them to consumers at a price that anyone, not just hardcore cannabis connoisseurs, will be willing to pay,” said Green Mill’s Director of R&D, Jesse Turner. “This will be accomplished both through equipment improvements and novel CO₂ extraction methods.”
Henry Baskerville, partner and head of the cannabis practice at Fortis Law Partners (Denver)
“In spite of all the issues, 2020 still delivered some solid forward momentum. We experienced a huge jump in cannabis sales during the pandemic, with projections indicating a 40% rise in the legal cannabis market this year. New U.S. markets are poised to blossom with major ballot measure victories in five states, and a path was paved for strong growth in international markets like Mexico, where the Senate recently approved a cannabis legalization bill that will create what is expected to be the world’s largest legal marijuana market. And, after a slow start, we saw a big uptick in cannabis M&A in Q3 of this year. Several multi-million-dollar deals closed and the market experienced the type of consolidation that we expect to see more of in the future, with small or medium-sized operations getting scooped up by larger companies,” Baskerville says.
Nancy Whiteman, CEO of Wana Brands (Boulder)
“Consumers are growing more discerning when it comes to cannabis. As a manufacturer, if you are not listening to your customer’s needs and continually evolving, you will quickly be left behind, because those customers are now finding many other options on the shelves. The growing dominance of branding. With a rapidly increasing number of cannabis-infused products on retailers’ shelves, the industry will see separation of value brands from premium brands. Differentiation, innovation and consistency will determine which brands come out ahead, gaining a dedicated following. At this point in the game, brands must bring something new to the table in order to be successful—a product innovation or unique value proposition, for example. And for those just entering the field, they will need to look beyond riding the coattails of other successful brands if they want to succeed,” Whiteman says.