The cannabinoid-infused food and beverage industry breaks ground in new legal cannabis markets on a monthly basis. States expand or introduce legislation for the first time, opening the door to a new industry. My home state of Illinois generated more than $86 million from adult-use cannabis tax revenue between January and March 2021, and is quickly poised to become a billion-dollar industry. Colorado annual sales hit $2.2 billion last year. California? $4.4 billion.

As we approach the conclusion of 2021, we—as a collective cannabis industry—look ahead toward national regulatory oversight, interstate commerce distribution, standardized good manufacturing practices (GMPs), and other guardrails required for sustainable market growth. And then it’s time to look international.

We are an industry in continual development. We continue to wait for federal regulatory guidance on use of cannabidiol (CBD) in foods and beverages. Initial results from companies participating in CBD safety studies are all very positive (as expected). FDA should have what it needs to develop initial guidance in the near future.

But California got tired of waiting. With passage of Assembly Bill 45 in October, California legally opened the market for CBD-infused food and beverage product sales across the state (and the largest cannabis market in the U.S.).

According to BDSA, legal cannabis grew about 45% in both the U.S. and globally last year. Global cannabis sales reached nearly $21.3 billion in 2020, up 48% over 2019. BDSA forecasts global cannabis sales will steadily grow from $21.3 billion in 2020 to $55.9 billion in 2026, a CAGR of +17% (BDSA, “Global Cannabis Sales Exceeded $21 Billion in 2020,” March 2021).

So as we look ahead with hope at the opening of 2022, it’s time to start thinking about our Cannabis Products Exchange, CPX22, taking place in-person in Denver on April 28 and 29 at the Hilton Denver City Center. Our speaking lineup for our third annual CPX event includes some of the top names in today’s legal cannabis food and beverage industry, providing practical insights into their experiences in developing infused foods and beverages—perspectives from the trenches as we collectively work to define this rapidly growing industry—and hosted in one of the nation’s top cannabis markets. Visit CPX22: Cannabis Products Exchange for details, updates, and to register. I’ll look forward to seeing you in Denver this April.