When we launched Cannabis Products back in fall of 2018, we were the first publication on the market fully dedicated to the intersection of food, beverage, and cannabis—and that feat remains unrivaled today. Cannabis Products is the sole dedicated resource for product development, manufacturing, marketing, and c-suite professionals seeking to explore the unfolding world of cannabis-infused food and beverage products designed to serve the wide-ranging and diverse needs of an expanding consumer base. This is new ground—but it is amazingly fertile.

Every year, cannabis grows more mainstream. This includes foods and beverages infused with healthy hemp-derived CBD, as well as the many different types of products infused with THC for medical or recreational need states. Our data partner, BDSA, notes that over time, as individual states completely legalize cannabis, more people purchase the products—they hear about the benefits and become cannabis consumers. At the beginning of 2020, BDSA found 36 percent of the population in states where cannabis is medically and recreationally legal were buying cannabis products. By the end of the year, that number had grown to 43 percent. Cannabis-infused foods and beverages hold significant appeal for a wide variety of reasons, and the range of consumer demographics that fit well with cannabis continues to expand.

BDSA has predicted that FDA will finally move forward with a clear regulatory structure for using CBD in foods and beverages in late 2021 or early 2022. And the U.S. House of Representatives voted in December 2020 to decriminalize cannabis at the federal level. The winds are changing, and the intersection between food, beverage, and cannabis is about to grow exponentially more crowded.

We can see the increasingly mainstream appeal of cannabis in the different companies investing in this market. Ocean Spray's Lighthouse Incubator recently entered cannabis with a CBD beverage line under a new subsidiary, CarryOn. And Dr. Keith Villa, the renowned inventor of Blue Moon—the craft beer that helped catalyze the entire microbrew mega trend—has now entered the cannabis market with infused, craft cannabis-infused non-alcoholic Belgian-style beers under his new company, CERIA Brewing. These companies see the opportunity that lies ahead, and you can hear key insights from both Dr. Villa and leadership from the Ocean Spray CarryOn business at the 2021 Cannabis Products Exchange (CPX) event, taking place virtually on April 27 and 28 (see www.preparedfoods.com/CPX).

We launched our CPX event last year in order to provide a reliable roadmap for food and beverage companies to enter the cannabis market, with a range of product development and supply-chain experts presenting on key topics to guide you along on this journey. After all, how are you going to find the intersection of food, beverage, and cannabis if you don’t have the right roadmap?

I hope you will join us for the proceedings in late April. The mainstream opportunity for cannabis has arrived, and you won’t want to miss your chance to fuel future business growth via this amazingly diverse and exciting market.