40 weed predictions that will most likely come true in 2023
Call us Pot-stradamus – last year we peeked into our crystal bongs and correctly predicted the future of weed in America with an accuracy of 74%! Is it second sight? no Bruce and I have manned the weed news moats together for about 25 years. Trends follow clear trajectories: such as the spread of legalization from West to East.
Below we outline our predictions for the next phases of federal and state legalization, hot new strains, shrooms and CBD. We have 40 weed predictions that have a high probability of coming true.*
Cannabis Strain Predictions
GastroPop. (Courtesy Sonoma Hills Farm)
It will be the year of Rainbow Sherbert 11 and crosses, the third and fourth generation Zkittlez work. The root beer variety will take off. The same goes for Trop Cherry and Super Boof. GastroPop, as well as strains bred from the Y line, will be popping.
The seed sales industry is about to get even crazier now that the DEA says anything under 0.3% THC is just hemp; like birdseed. Each will have a seed brand. The golden era of cannabis genetics continues to brighten.
We will get evidence that some terpenes – aroma molecules in weed – produce oversized smells and effects in relation to their amount. We’ll also learn about previously unclassified or unnamed molecules that contribute to flavor and effects.
The solvent-free “live rosin” is about to have an even bigger year.
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Weed Lifestyle Trends
Moe Green’s legal weed lounge in San Francisco. (Jamie Soy for Leafly)
We expect hundreds of new pharmacies to open in dozens of new cities. Delivery services will expand.
Las Vegas will jump to the forefront of the cannabis consumption lounge trend. New state-licensed lounges are opening in Sin City, many with the over-the-top design and luxe amenities we’ve come to expect from America’s adult playground.
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At least one of the new lounges will be partnering with a ride-sharing company to get guests safely back home (or, let’s be honest, to their hotels on the Strip).
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After a high-profile incident amidst the wave of charlatans exploiting the hype, a fungal reaction will begin. New research on why mushrooms help is coming out. New articles on why mushrooms can hurt will come out.
New cities will legalize/decriminalize psychedelics. Other cities/legislatures will increase penalties for psychedelics.
Ketamine therapy will continue to go mainstream and begin to skip the shark.
CBD, Delta-8 and beyond
Cannabidiol science will advance – with new discoveries related to medicinal effects, or lack thereof.
New studies will find some unhealthy compounds and effects in novel cannabinoid products like THC-O.
New states will crack down on designer cannabinoids like delta-8-thc, hemp-derived d-9-thc, THC-O, HHC, etc.
Cannabis Industry Forecasts
Pacific Stone, Carpinteria, CA. (Mike Rosati for Leafly)
Pot prices won’t budge in Illinois. State-choked legal supply will not meet demand. Pot prices will continue to fall in Michigan. There seems to be more supply than demand.
Enforcement of medical marijuana in Oklahoma is increasing. The rampant cultivation of medical marijuana has sparked a backlash. Oregon Illicit Market Enforcement will step in. Illegal providers flooded the legal market there in 2022.
The world’s largest legal cannabis market, Los Angeles, will stall without a significant increase in brick-and-mortar outlets and more equity lawsuits. California will not bring its illicit market under control. As a result, prices in California will remain low.
New York is going to have a tough first year of legal, licensed sales: Expect high prices, few stores, more lawsuits, dirty street grass, and continued crackdowns on unlicensed sellers. Dogged government adoption means demand far exceeds legal supply in a few stores. An untested illegal market supplies the rest of the demand, and that spurs enforcement.
Leafly’s new “Cannabis Harvest Report” ranks the harvest fifth nationwide
Cannabis stocks will remain depressed. High inflation has dampened cannabis sales and sparked high federal interest rates, depressing stocks. Stocks also depressing – no move for legalization in Congress (see below).
Other states will follow California’s example and create organic labels, such as California’s OCal program — “a statewide certification program that establishes and enforces standards comparable to organic cannabis.”
Other prominent brands are introduced. We’ll see the first major celebrity brand go bust.
Aggrieved parties like Variscite NY One, Inc. will challenge stock programs in court. The federal lawsuit currently holding dozens of stock licenses in New York could set a chilling precedent.
New cases of lung injuries from tainted THC vape cartridges could come to light, most likely a limited EVALI outbreak in a state of prohibition. The hemp-derived THC loophole has opened up huge sales and marketing opportunities for vape cartridge manufacturers without any consumer safety precautions provided by lab testing.
prognosis of federal reform
John Fetterman transitioned from the mayor of Braddock, PA, to a statewide office – and took with him his outspoken support for legalization. (leaf display)
Congress will close the loophole in the farm bill that has allowed hemp-derived cannabinoids to flood Prohibition states.
The FDA will continue to warn CBD sellers about making false claims, but the final FDA rules on CBD won’t come out in 2023.
No cannabis legalization bill will pass Congress in 2023. Republicans are taking control of the House of Representatives, meaning Republican committee chairs have the power to block cannabis reform bills they don’t like — even if the bills get enough votes to pass.
The House of Representatives has twice passed the MORE Act (which would end federal cannabis prohibition) in the last two years — but that winning streak will end in 2023 when Democrats hand control of the chamber to Republicans. MORE Act’s co-sponsors will still have enough votes for House passage, but the measure won’t make it to the bottom in 2023 if the chairs of prohibitionist Republican committees don’t like it. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), the presumptive new speaker of the House of Representatives, will also prevent legalization measures from being pushed forward during his tenure. House Dems will block Republican-led pot reforms. We’re assuming the Senate won’t even have to weigh up.
Cannabis gets nothing from Congress as the session draws to a close
In the US Senate, Democrats will still control the agenda — and they still won’t have enough votes to pass a legalization bill. Ponderous Democrats like Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) will balk at an issue they don’t understand and refuse to consider it. Nationwide limits for THC concentration are discussed but not enacted.
Senator John Fetterman (D-PA) will be both an outspoken advocate for legalization in the US Senate, as well as working behind the scenes and having face-to-face conversations with his Senate colleagues on the need for legalization.
Congress will pass a small, incremental cannabis law. Not SAFE Banking or MORE, but another law that cuts bureaucracy in research.
A rescheduling is being reviewed by the US Department of Justice but not decided. There will be hearings.
State Legalization Predictions
Two states will attempt to engage in interstate commerce, but the actual legal weight moving between borders will be zero. But the headlines will be great.
There will be more dormant trade lawsuits, but decisions will be close. They could cut some aspects of the Controlled Substances Act, but they won’t overthrow it.
Oklahoma voters will pass adult use legalization in a statewide election on March 7, 2023.
Ohio will vote on legalization, but it won’t pass as consensus continues to build.
Minnesota lawmakers are set to pass adult legalization legislation after months of wrangling over the details.
In Hawaii, state legislatures are finally set to pass full adult-use legalization legislation, with incoming Gov. Josh Green (D) poised to sign it.
New Hampshire state legislatures will make progress in winning votes for legislation to fully legalize adult use, but Gov. Chris Sununu (R) strongly opposes the idea. Without Sununu on board — and a promise to veto any measure passed — state legislators will improve on previous bills but not bother to pass them this year. That’ll have to wait until Sununu moves on.
Additional states will issue erases and/or reconvictions for previous marijuana offenses.
America hits 21 legalizing states after roaring midterm elections
Rules for drug testing are being relaxed in new constitutional states.
There will be more class action lawsuits over THC pot inflation – they are very appetizing for lawyers who like to write press releases. But they won’t hold up in court because laboratory standards vary so much. California will enact state-leading laboratory testing standards through regulatory review.
And that concludes our cannabis predictions for 2023. We wish you all the best in all your endeavors in the new year.