Saage Insights has identified five trends set to influence the cannabis industry this year and beyond.

The research firm recently published its “2021 Cannabis Trends Brief,” which points to pandemic-related hardship, heightened awareness of social justice struggles, and other issues impacting the cannabis industry. These concerns include:

Value Brands: High cannabis taxes and economic hardship among consumers are driving demand for stylish, low-cost brands such as Old Pal (U.S.) and Daily Special (Canada), which are able to draw consumers to stores and away from the still-booming illicit market.

Know Your Grow: The desire for traceability and transparency is impacting the cannabis segment, with developments that parallel the rise of organic and farm to table food. Industry certifications like Clean Green help build trust in brands, while some consumers are home growing for the highest level of transparency.

Beyond CBD & THC: As the cannabis segment expands and diversifies, producers are looking at the functional benefits of less-hyped cannabinoids, such as CBG and CBN, and launching products that combine cannabis with other trendy wellness ingredients, most notably adaptogenic and nootropic botanicals.

Social Justice & Activism: Cannabis legalization is intrinsically entwined with racial justice, and in the era of BLM, consumers are becoming more aware of these inequalities. The dichotomy between who is criminalized for marijuana versus who is profiting from the legal cannabis segment makes it imperative that companies take stock of their responsibilities to social justice.

Will the Hemp CBD Bubble Burst?: With hemp-based CBD popping up in everything from facial wash to drinks, 2021 is the year to reflect whether it's gone too far. The question for brands to ask themselves is this: are you creating something of real value with your CBD launch, or are you just throwing something against the wall to see if it sticks?

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