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  • Writer's pictureMichael Bryden

2024 Cannabis Industry Overview: Legalization, Legislation, and Market Dynamics


Growth of Cannabis Industry
Cannabis Growth Predictions

A Year of Growth, Legislative Progress, and Challenges in the Cannabis Landscape


As 2024 unfolds, the cannabis industry is witnessing pivotal changes and significant strides towards legalization, especially in an election year where the push for federal legalization of recreational marijuana is more pronounced than ever. The Cannabis Team at BGM, a part of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), delves into the current state and future prospects of this rapidly evolving sector. This comprehensive overview integrates expert analyses and recent developments to offer a detailed perspective on the industry's landscape, legislative progress, market dynamics, and the blend of opportunities and challenges that are emerging.


Ontario’s Cannabis Frontier: New Rules and Expanding Markets


A Year of Growth and Legislative Progress The global cannabis market in 2024 is experiencing substantial growth, driven by the legalization in new states and the expansion of market dynamics. Pennsylvania and Florida are on the cusp of joining the legal cannabis industry, with Indiana showing unexpected momentum towards legalization. This change is marked by a ballot initiative set for November, highlighting a shift in the state's stance on cannabis.

Federal Legalization and Legislative Hurdles The journey towards federal legalization is complex. The SAFER Banking Act, a critical piece of legislation, has stalled on Capitol Hill, with its objectives likely to be addressed through alternative channels. The lack of progress at the federal level has led to frustration and alternative approaches, such as legal actions exemplified by the Boies Schiller Flexner lawsuit against Attorney General Merrick Garland. The anticipation of a memo from Garland, akin to the earlier Cole memo, is seen as a potential step forward.

DEA's Potential Reclassification: Cannabis industry 2024 and Beyond

A significant development on the horizon is the potential reclassification of cannabis under the Controlled Substances Act. There's a strong likelihood that the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) will follow the recommendation of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to reclassify cannabis as a Schedule 3 substance. This anticipated announcement, possibly on April 19, 2024, is a topic of keen interest, with political leaders poised to respond to this pivotal change.

Taxation and Financial Implications The cannabis industry is also bracing for the potential introduction of an excise tax by Congress, which could be set at a rate of 14%. This development comes as the industry grapples with the illicit market and the burgeoning intoxicating hemp market, which currently operates free of such taxes. The integration of intoxicating hemp into regulated channels is another area where legislative action is expected.

A Tidal Wave of Liquidity and Market Evolution 2024 is poised to be a transformative year for the cannabis industry, with expected regulatory changes potentially unleashing a wave of liquidity. This influx could lead to the refinancing of debts and a resurgence in equity-raising, providing a lifeline to struggling companies. There is also anticipation that these developments could pave the way for the first U.S. cannabis operator to be listed on a major U.S. stock exchange.

Ontario’s Cannabis Frontier New Rules and Expanding Markets In Ontario, the beginning of 2024 marked significant regulatory changes. The increase in the cap of stores an operator can run from 75 to 150 has caused a stir, particularly among smaller cannabis businesses. The entry of major players like grocery giant Loblaws into the cannabis market reflects the evolving landscape, as they explore options to integrate cannabis operations within existing grocery stores.

Cities like Mississauga are now opening their doors to legal cannabis stores, a move driven by the need to combat the illegal market. This shift is creating new opportunities for retailers like Matt Piotrowicz of Purple Tree Cannabis, who are exploring expansion into less saturated markets. However, several cities in the Greater Toronto Area remain resistant to licensed cannabis stores, presenting a mixed picture of market acceptance.

Challenges and Advocacy for Small Businesses Small cannabis businesses are advocating for changes to improve their competitiveness. Issues like mandatory window coverings and the burden of the federal excise tax are key concerns. Industry leaders argue that tax relief and regulatory adjustments are necessary to level the playing field with the illicit market and ensure the viability of legal cannabis retailers.

In Summary The cannabis industry in 2024 is at a crossroads, marked by potential legislative breakthroughs, market expansion, and evolving challenges. As the industry navigates these transformative times, it stands on the cusp of a new era, shaping the future of cannabis both in the U.S. and globally. The coming months and years promise to be some of the most exciting and pivotal in the history of legal cannabis.

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