The new year is ushering in fresh changes to the industry.

2019 had its ups and downs, including the discovery of harmful substances in cheaply-made vape cartridges. This issue, of course, led to high-quality cannabusinesses like Sacred Garden—who have never used shoddy or dangerous materials—to share their quality-minded ethos and raise awareness. Moving forward, increased public awareness will help expunge illicit materials from vape products and promote more safety and integrity in all vape manufacturing.

What else can we look out for in 2020?

It is well known that industry workers must operate in accordance with competing federal and state laws. These laws are also continually evolving. Can we expect new legislation to disrupt or stabilize this tenuous situation?

33 states have legalized medical programs, while 11 of those have legalized recreational use for adults. Proponents are gunning for legal medical use in Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nebraska, and South Dakota. More states are pushing for legal recreational use, including New Mexico, as well as Arizona, Connecticut, Montana, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Vermont.

On the federal level, the SAFE Banking Act, which would allow companies in the industry to have basic access to the banking system, overwhelmingly passed in the Democrat-led House but stalled in the Republican-dominated Senate. Opponents of the bill argue that more research into the industry would be necessary, due to the substance’s Schedule I status.

The Schedule I status is perplexing, given the hugely positive results of the medical program. Patients with medical prescriptions experience a new sense of well-being, which includes pain-relief and an increase in appetite. For many, the medical program is far and away a better option than prescription pain meds, such as harmful and addictive opiates. 

So why not reevaluate whether it should be considered a Schedule I substance? There are measures to change its status. For example, the MORE Act, which would decriminalize and deschedule the product, was approved by the House Judiciary Committee in 2019. While it is optimistic that the full House will approve the MORE Act, Senate republicans generally oppose federal legalization.