2021 Cannabis HeadlinesLooking back at the legislation, research, and products that changed cannabis in 2021.
Each year we take a moment to look back on some of the most impactful headlines in the cannabis and hemp industry, and of course, it’s always a great time to look ahead at what potentially lies in the year ahead.
Legislative Moves Give Marijuana Momentum
2021 saw the influx of new state cannabis law changes, with New York, Virginia, New Mexico, and Connecticut added to the list of legal marijuana states. Unfortunately, the legislative front is really where cannabis stalled out. One writer for Forbes deemed 2021 the least eventful year in cannabis to date.
This year, South Dakota residents also learned that despite their vote to legalize cannabis, staunch political efforts prevented their voices from being heard. However, the Highway Patrol Superintendent Col. Rick Miller sued on Governor Kristi Noem's behalf, and in November, the South Dakota Supreme Court ruled in their favor – negating the voice of their constituents.
Although Chuck Schumer made moves on the federal front by introducing a bill to legalize cannabis nationwide, it's doubtful the legislation will move with the current state of politics.
On an international front, cannabis continues to leap forward, with Mexico decriminalizing the recreational use of marijuana. As we move into 2022, Mexico is expected to pass legislation to legalize the industry altogether, leaving the United States the only country in North America that hasn't embraced the new industry.
Cannabis Research Gets a Shot in the Arm
In May of 2021, the DEA finally opened the door for extended cannabis research by allowing new cannabis research facilities to explore the potential for the herb. Granting research licenses to several bio-pharmaceutical research companies will allow scientists to increase the rate of research in the United States.
In fact, upon the announcement, Bright Green broke ground on a new $300 million research facility in New Mexico, as reported by Jessica McKeil earlier this year. About 70 miles outside Albuquerque, the 20-acre cultivation space includes a dedicated greenhouse area split into two flowering spaces and one vegetative space.
On a similar note, Cannabis Tech writer, Karhlyle Fletcher, shared a myriad of ongoing clinical trials in cannabis in 2021 proving that research continues to inch forward.
Delta-8 THC and Designer Cannabinoids Steal the Show
Undoubtedly, the creation of designer cannabinoids took the spotlight this year as Delta 8 products slammed the shelves of every CBD boutique and outlet in non-legal states in the US. Not only has this novel cannabinoid (and others like it) drawn the attention of hemp producers and consumers, but it’s also drawn the attention of the federal authorities.
In more recent headlines, Superstar Buds in Wisconsin is learning the ramifications of poor-quality production and non-existent checks and balances in testing procedures. After being raided in April, the shop owner faces several felony charges for selling THC products in a non-legal state. Third-party testing showed that several of the products carried in the store contained illegal potencies of Delta 9.
Meanwhile, getting a little Delta 9 THC may not be the worst of it for the consumers. In a report published in December of 2021 in Chemical Research in Toxicology, Delta-8 vaporizers tested positive for cutting agents, heavy metals, and contained reaction byproducts.
Looking forward to 2022
2022 may be the year of the cannabis investor. For those of you afraid you may have missed the bubble, take heart – investment analysts predict stock prices in cannabis to continue to fall in 2022 before they start to rebound in 2023 and 2024. Mergers and acquisitions will continue to happen across the board through 2022. If you've been on the fence about investment opportunities in cannabis, 2022 may be your year to buckle down and do your due diligence.
Each year cannabis and hemp continue to move toward legalization, the stigmas surrounding cannabis use. But, the slow progress in 2021 is another reminder that there is still work to be done.
On behalf of all of us at Cannabis Tech, we want to wish our readers a glorious New Year as we continue to follow the cannabis and hemp industry advances throughout 2022 and beyond!