Jars of marijuana are seen on display at Montana Advanced Caregivers, a medical marijuana dispensary, Nov. 11, 2020, in Billings, Mont. Recreational marijuana initiatives passed in four states this year, from liberal New Jersey to conservative Montana and South Dakota. Advocates’ next goal is to get marijuana removed from a federal list of illegal drugs with no accepted medical use and high potential for abuse. (AP Photo/Matthew Brown)
Even before the coronavirus pandemic defined the year, and perhaps a generation, 2020 was slated to be a time of reckoning for the cannabis industry. Humbled by an ongoing market correction and subsequent cash crunch, many cannabis companies faced a tough year ahead — even without a global pandemic to contend with.
Throughout the terrible lows of 2020, though, there were unexpected flickers of optimism. As this infamous year winds to a close, the industry will head into 2021 propelled by titanic shifts in the perception of cannabis in the U.S. and unprecedented political tailwinds.
“When you talk about [cannabis] shifting from this illegal world that it lived in to an essential business — where you have schools and churches closed, but your dispensary is open — is certainly a big shift in the United States,” Joe Caltabiano, co-founder and former president of Cresco Labs, said in an October interview.
Even before the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S. full force in mid-March, cannabis companies could already feel foreshocks of the earth-shaking pandemic to come. Companies doing business in China, like vape, equipment, and specialty packaging manufacturers, were hit by demand-based price hikes on raw materials and delays due to factory closures, worker shortages, and transportation restrictions. These new hardships only compound difficulties for the cannabis sector.
“First, it was the tariffs in China, followed by the general cannabis collapse…and then followed up by the vape crisis that happened last September, and now we’ve got the coronavirus. So it’s literally one thing after the other,” Nick Kovacevich, CEO and founder of KushCo Holdings, said in an interview at the time.
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Published: December 28, 2020
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News