Nobody can predict the future, but it’s certainly fun to try. One of my favorite hobbies is flicking through old magazines from the 1950s predicting what the world of 2000 will be like.
We don’t have flying cars or time machines, but technology has definitely improved and society rapidly adapted to a lot of new ideas since the rise of the Internet. However, instead of predicting where technology takes us, I like to think about where legalized cannabis will take us in the future.
In 2050, our perception of cannabis is likely to be completely different to how it is now. Look at how much it changed between 1998-2018!
Since marijuana is legalized sporadically around the world for either medicinal or recreational purposes, I thought it would be fun to imagine what the industry could look like in 50 years. We can already see the effects of criminalization, but the following two scenarios below are interesting to ponder.
What future are we working toward in the cannabis industry?
Medical marijuana is proven effective
Medical marijuana is more than just a clever legal loophole potheads created to get high.
All plants are made of terpenes, but cannabis also contains a special subclass of terpenes called cannabinoids. Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the two most commonly discussed, although there are over 100 cannabinoids found in different cannabis strains, each with different medicinal properties.
These cannabinoids alleviate symptoms from debilitating conditions like epilepsy, but much of the medical science is difficult to prove because of marijuana’s legal status. Still, enough evidence was available for the FDA to approve Epidiolex from GW Pharma (GWPH), the first marijuana-based pharmaceutical drug in 2018.
In a world where medical marijuana is accepted en masse, it would be processed into medications and sold by pharmaceutical giants like Novartis (NVS) and Merck & Co. (MRK). Patients could pick it up at local pharmacies, and many dispensaries will struggle to stay in business, as all-new licensing is needed to operate as a retail pharmacy.
It wouldn’t be long before cannabis and its side effects would make their way to TV, print, and online ads. However, we’ll see that cannabis side effects are mild compared to the bleeding diarrhea and death that accompany today’s allergy medications.
Recreational Cannabis Goes Mainstream
Medical benefits or not, recreational drug usage will always be a thing, as any smoker, vaper, space cadet, or tweaker can attest. If recreational usage is approved over medical, cannabis will be treated like alcohol.
This means Anheuser Busch (AB InBev) and Godaddy (GDDY) will be competing with Big Cannabis for the most memorable Super Bowl 84 ads. In fact, the tacky pot-leaf-covered clothing and tie dye associated with 1970s hippie culture will actually be quite chic, as pot leaves cover NASCARs, concert venues, Times Square, Las Vegas, and more.
Usage of cannabis by both celebrities and politicians will almost become a requirement, and liquor cabinets, cigar humidors, and subzero cannabis concentrate storage units will become synonymous.
Regardless of which future you pick, the world is more chilled out and relaxed. Violent crime rates will plummet, and people will focus more on community and sustainability than ever before.
Keep this in mind as you go to the polls.