The U.S. has seen some significant changes over the past 30-plus years since California, in 1996, legalized medical cannabis. Back then, it was seen as a radical move—something only California would think of doing. Today, the majority of U.S. states have approved legal use of medical cannabis, and every election cycle adds more states to the list. And medical research continues to unveil new potential uses for legal cannabis to help with everything from anxiety to pain management and seizure control.

It’s no surprise that analysts are predicting massive rates of growth.

The world of legalized cannabis increasingly touches us all. I hear more stories all the time about people who have seen their lives—or the lives of their loved ones—dramatically change for the better due to legal use of cannabis to treat a medical condition. These stories often focus on how an individual’s medication stopped working, or didn’t work very well, and that the side effects were debilitating. Then, once they worked with their doctor to find a treatment plan centered on legal medical cannabis, they talk about how they were able to get their life back—that they finally felt like they were starting to get some control. It’s inspirational—and this movement is only going to continue to spread.

More states are also approving legal adult recreational use. Legal cannabis edibles and beverages show significant promise as adult-use alternatives to alcohol—and for general well-being. The market for traditional nutritional, functional foods and beverages continues to grow. Similarly, we will likely see widely diversified markets for better-for-you, health-focused legal cannabis edibles and beverages emerge in states where recreational adult use has passed.

At Prepared Foods magazine, we focus squarely on innovation—the sweet spot where market trends, strong food science, culinary arts and a spark of something new come together to bring exciting new food and beverage products to market. Elsewhere at BNP Media, we publish business information related to food safety, such as via our Food Safety Summit show and its associated brand, Food Safety Strategies (, and process engineering and equipment, like at Food Engineering magazine. Other BNP Media publications cover areas of product development for candy, confectionery, snacks, bakery, beverages and more.

It was only logical for us to step into the new frontier of developing legal cannabis edibles and beverages.

This inaugural issue of Cannabis Products discusses the top issues, strategies, best practices, supply-chain dynamics and more to help guide the next generation—and level of sophistication—of legal cannabis product development. The legal cannabis edibles and beverages market is poised for significant growth, and businesses that invest in the right resources today will be poised for success.