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5 Big Predictions for Cannabis This Year

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Just a few months into 2019, and it’s proving to be another wild year for the cannabis industry. More states will legalize cannabis both for medical and recreational use, and pressure is mounting on the federal government to follow suit.

Here are some trends to watch.

Related: 11 Cannabis Predictions for 2019

In 2018, several big-name alcohol and tobacco brands started to hedge sales losses by partnering with cannabis companies or starting their own forays into the industry. Altria, the maker of Marlboro, put $1.8 billion into Cronos Group. Constellation Brands, which produces Corona beer and dozens of other brands, invested nearly $4 billion in Canopy Growth to make a bet on cannabis-infused beverages. Taking a different approach, Heineken developed its own cannabis-infused beverage Hi-Fi Hops.

This year look for pharmaceutical companies to make strategic investments as the population ages and demand for CBD products rise.
Pharma and cannabis have natural synergies. People are using CBD for dozens of conditions: Cancer, anxiety, depression, chronic pain, Parkinson’s, glaucoma, and the list goes on.

With CBD now legal in 31 states, I predict we'll begin to see more pharmaceutical companies approaching cannabis companies for strategic partnerships. It doesn’t hurt that recent industry reports put the potential market size of cannabinoid-based pharmaceuticals at $50 billion annually.

Novartis, the fourth-largest pharmaceutical company in the country, led the way in 2018 by partnering with the grower Tilray to develop and market new products for its Sandoz division. GW Pharmaceuticals also had a breakthrough moment when the FDA approved Epidiolex, a CBD drug that is used to treat seizures. That lends legitimacy not........

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