History of 420 and Predictions for the Cannabis Industry

2023 cannabis industry predictions, what's the history of 420, what is 420, cannabis industry 2023, is 420 a holiday

Did you know the term “420” is in the Oxford English Dictionary? “People always asked where it came from, and none of the explanations were very good,” says Katherine Connor Martin, product director for Oxford Languages at Oxford University Press. “So it’s very pleasing that the record of the English language now records what seems to be the genuine origin of the term.” 

Next question: Have you heard of the Waldos? They may be the ones to thank for the term and associated holiday of April 20, also known as 420 (4/20, 4:20). With many rumors, assumptions and theories, this group has worked to put themselves at the forefront of the question: What’s the history of 420?

What’s the history of 420?

Martin says there was solid evidence showing “the Waldos,” a group of California students in the 1970s with ties to the band the Grateful Dead, popularized the concept of “420” as a reference to the afternoon time to meet up and consume. “We have a watch list of words that we think should be added, and as they get enough evidence, we add them,” she says. “This had been on the list for awhile, but it’s become more prominent, and it’s become more mainstream, since the legalization.”

420 in the cannabis industry 2023

Have you ever wondered to yourself, is 420 a holiday — officially? Not yet, but it certainly gets celebrated across the nation. One of the biggest events of 420 Hippie Hill 2023 will be the first-ever global livestream of a cannabis event on April 20. It will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST. Other first-time 420 events can be found in Lubbock, Texas and Kansas City, while more established happenings will go on through the night in Colorado, California, New York, Oregon and more locations.

Those in the realm know 420 is a huge day for cannabis sales, but what does the rest of the year hold for the cannabis industry 2023? Per cannabis researcher Brightfield Group, the market is estimated to reach over $31.8 billion annual sales by the end of the year, growing to $50.7 billion in annual sales by 2028. Matt Zehner, insights manager at Brightfield Group, cited new market openings as one reason for the uptick. “2022 was a big year for cannabis, with seven state markets beginning sales (six adult-use, one medical), four of which only commenced in the latter half of the year,” he explains. “These markets are expected to have sizable growth over the course of the year, particularly those in populous states such as New Jersey and New York, both of which have had somewhat slow openings so far. New York only began sales in the last few days of 2022, so 2023 is effectively the market’s first year.”

2023 cannabis industry predictions

The Brightfield report also compared and ranked the strongest product categories. Flower continues to dominate the U.S. market with 2022 sales at $11.6 billion. However, its share is decreasing annually as consumers become more comfortable with other versions of cannabis such as vapes, which registered as the second largest category, and drinks — the fastest-growing category. Brightfield is forecasting beverage sale expansion from roughly $290 million in 2022 to $640 million by 2028.

Other 2023 cannabis predictions include a slowdown of mergers and acquisitions, major consolidations in key markets plus moratoriums due to oversupply and that THC potency will stay under strict review. A market forecast produced recently by Colorado-based BDSA also predicted a “return to growth” for many of the mature state markets that suffered sales declines last year, including California, Colorado, Nevada and Oregon, which combined saw a 16.5% sales dip.

Legalization by state is always a big topic, which can determine the next year and more for the industry. As new markets open, adjoining states that have long-since legalized feel the effects. Considered likely to pass legalization in 2023: 

  • Ohio (polls show about 60% support adult-use) 
  • Minnesota (Governor Tim Walz said in November legalization is a priority)
  • Hawaii (incoming governor supports recreational legalization). 

States that could surprise us with legalization this year are:

  • Delaware 
  • Kansas 
  • Kentucky 
  • New Hampshire 
  • North Carolina 
  • Pennsylvania 
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas

However, it’s best not to hold your breath for legal recreational cannabis in Oklahoma this year. In early March, voters rejected adult-use legalization in a special election.

Meanwhile, New Mexico’s medical and recreational markets are booming. Attend CannaCon on May 19 and 20 to experience our predictions playing out in real time. This event is the nation’s leading business-to-business cannabis conference, and we host it with the goal of growing the industry by educating cannabis business owners on all things related to cannabis and CBD. CannCon trade shows feature a large exhibition hall with exhibitors from around the country and seminars delivered by industry experts. Get your tickets right away!

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