Whether you call it Big Weed and Craft Cannabis or Corporate Marijuana and Artesian Weed, there’s a huge shift in the cannabis industry which is driven by legalization and regulation. As more and more states open up to medical and recreational cannabis, the local players (legal, grey and black market) are all vying for: growing spaces, skilled resources and money.

The Hard Reality

In 2020 the economies of scale will be more important than ever for cannabis companies. More acreage will be planted by sophisticated growers with lots of money, which will drive down the prices and squeeze smaller, struggling, producers. This is the price of Big Cannabis.

How will Smaller Producers Survive?

Artisanal cannabis cultivators always have differentiated their brands by producing exceptional quality cannabis; this allows them to command premium pricing, making their extra effort worthwhile. This trend will continue in 2020 along with sustainable and ‘social purpose’ brands. These product categories are growing in popularity as customers become savvier consumers.

In addition to the demand for ethical, green, products, cannabis tourism is growing in popularity and, especially for hemp producers, the opportunity to host Guests at Farms expands in 2020 and provides a unique revenue stream.

2020 will not be easy for most cannabis operators. In addition to the shift which looms with Federal legalization, the COVID-19 new ‘normal’ will impact every aspect of cannabis production, from growing and processing to retail and even consumption.

Let’s Define Craft Cannabis

To understand the dangers a craft cannabis company faces, it helps to understand how industry stakeholders define “craft.”

Generally, it comes down to a set of factors which are based on how craft brewed beverages are defined:

  • The business is majority-owned by locals and also sources its inputs locally, produces locally and employs locals.
  • The business produces a smaller amount of product compared to larger competitors. (Exact numbers haven’t been defined.)
  • The business stresses values – such as compensating employees well and contributing to the community – and puts them ahead of the bottom line.
  • The business uses only organic or natural products and environmentally friendly methods.
  • Growers, processors and other employees are able to offer personal care to individual plants and products that larger operations can’t provide.

What Experts Say

“Craft weed is artisanally produced, smaller-scale cannabis that is grown on family farms. That is in contrast to the rise of what I describe as Big Marijuana, which is large-scale cultivation of cannabis typically in massive outdoor fields or in large warehouses.

I think California is probably on the forefront of a lot of these issues, especially from a cultivation standpoint, which makes sense because they’re the largest producer of cannabis in the US. But they have been thinking about these issues, like sustainability and environmental regulations, for a long time.

The California Department of Agriculture is moving forward with an appellations project that would certify designations of origin. And historically, they have promoted small-scale farming by having an acreage limit on cannabis farms. You could only grow up to one or two acres of plant canopy depending on the type of permit you have. I think they’re thinking about this in a lot of really good ways”

Ryan Stoa, author Craft Weed

And Let’s Not Forget About Hemp

Hemp, the source for CBD in many non-psychoactive products, will expand internationally as well, driven by the CBD’s demand. The CBD market will grow to $2.1 billion in consumer sales by 2020 according to the Hemp Business Journal, with $450 million of those sales coming from hemp-based sources.

(source: Forbes.com)

Craft and Commercial

Just as there are hybrid strains of cannabis, so goes the cannabis industry – a hybrid of Corporate Weed along side Craft Cannabis. This landscape is identical, in fact, to the Wine and Beer industries.

Given how similar Craft Cannabis is to Craft Beer and Wine, can the normalization of cannabis consumption be far behind? Will Corporate America ever acknowledge the ‘two bowl lunch’?

What’s a Consumer to Do?

Seems like the best plan going forward is to buy what you want to buy, depending on where you live or are visiting. If you’re in an area like Northern California’s Wine and Weed Country, you can jump on board Happy Travelers Tours Dispensary Tour and enjoy the best of both worlds.

Book a Tour

Happy Travelers Tours navigates both the Commercial and Craft Cannabis worlds. Book a Tour today and get up-close-and-personal with cannabis plants.