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24 Cannabis Predictions for 2019 That Will Come True

December 26, 2018
In the Year 2019: Sorry, no federal legalization, but lots of baby steps. Also—the herb will be phenomenal. Bet on it. (Kerfluffle/iStock)
History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme. And next year, legalization is going to rhyme with normalization, modernization, and Zkittlez, among other trends. Read on for 24 predictions that will most definitely happen in cannabis in 2019, or we owe you a bowl.

Cannabis Strains & Products Predictions

More Dessert!

The “dessert” strain craze of scrumptious, high-THC strains like Wedding Cake, Sundae Driver, and Cookies will continue strong in 2019. Look for new second and third- generation crosses of Purple Punch, Zkittlez, Gelato and more.

Lounge Expansion

California’s first licensed cannabis consumption lounges will move beyond the Bay Area. Look for them first in West Hollywood.

Increased Pesticide Awareness

As the feds relax their posture in the post-Sessions era, states will be able to focus on creating more workable systems for consumers instead of prioritizing federal concerns. They’ll realize pesticide levels are too dang high and will step up regulations. Industry will complain that standards are more stringent than food products.

Canada Gets Lit

Canada’s cannabis products and markets will get better. After a rocky start where the few open retailers could push sub-par product, competition in 2019 will drive quality back up.


A bona fide anti-packaging waste movement will emerge in 2019 to counter the increasingly huge cannabis waste stream created by over-regulation.

Price Normalization

We’ll see California prices come down down down. Oregon will stay cratered. Washington will drop slightly. Price points will continue to evolve into greater price spectrums. Top-shelf will hit new heights. The bottom will go even lower.

Modality Modernization

Raw, crude cannabis flower as a product category will continue to lose ground to highly manufactured products like Dosist vape pens and Utopia low-dose edibles. You’ll see the explosion of molecule and effect-driven marketing (THC-V, CBG, THC-A, delta-8-THC. For “Sleep,” “Bliss,” “Relax,” “Passion.”)


The Top 10 Cannabis Stories of 2018

Federal and State Cannabis Legalization Predictions

Incremental US Legalization

Sorry, no federal cannabis legalization in 2019. It’s going to take 30+ adult-use states for federal legalization, which will feel like a foregone conclusion when it finally arrives. But Congress will allow more states to chart their own course next year. The medical cannabis shield law Rohrabacher-Farr will be renewed, and maybe expanded to cover the Treasury Department (which will allow expanded banking services), not just the Department of Justice. A Rohrabacher-Farr-type shield bill—most likely some version of the States Act—for adult use will be seriously debated, but fail to pass either chamber.

Re-Scheduling Shenanigans

Cannabis the plant will remain a federally illegal Schedule 1 substance, deemed as dangerous as heroin, while THC the molecule derived from whole plant cannabis could be down-scheduled like dronabinol (synthetic THC), which is already in Schedule 3.

East Coast Catchup

New Jersey will legalize via the state legislature. New York will consider legalization, but the bill will get hung up on the fears of a powerful Democratic committee member, and not pass in 2019.

Windy City Blows Smoke

Illinois will advance new reforms but fall short of full legalization. Machine politics will block a solution this year. The mucky mucks have to fight over the pie another year before they eat it.

Razing Arizona

Arizona legalization advocates will fight over two separate ballot measures. Neither will make the ballot.

New Research Farms

The first new federally licensed research cannabis farms beyond the one in Mississippi will be granted licenses.

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Cannabis Criminal Justice Predictions

Border Crisis and New Clarity

A high-profile border case will force the United States and Canada to amend their antiquated and harmful cannabis border policies.

More Trafficking Blame-Shifting

More US Attorneys will try to score political points by holding individual states responsible for inter-state marijuana trafficking in the US. Legal cannabis industry officials and regulators will team up to quash the illicit market like never before.

Equity’s Time Has Come

We’ll see the advanced spread of equity programs to new legalization states as well as beyond the cannabis sector. New York politicians will take the lead on this, and influence others (New Jersey) to do the same.


Leafly’s 2018 Doobious Achievement Awards

Cannabis Business Predictions

More Corporate Giants Enter

More alcohol and tobacco multi-national corporations will buy stakes in cannabis companies using Canadian companies as a global investment vehicle.

Conglomerates Gonna Conglomerate

Stores like MedMen and Have a Heart will expand into newly legal states and capture bigger shares of new licenses, either directly or through acquisitions and/or licensing/management arrangements. The consolidation has just begun.

More Censorship

Expect increasing restrictions on advertising in legal states. Both conservatives and progressives love throttling cannabis free speech, for different reasons. Conservatives dislike cannabis commerce, while progressives never met a nanny state regulation they didn’t like.


The world’s biggest cannabis city, Los Angeles, will continue to be a mess from a regulatory standpoint.

Technocracy Fail

In the world’s biggest cannabis state, California, track-and-trace will be delayed and plagued with problems, creating only the appearance of a traceable system.

Florida, Man

The massive legal medical cannabis state of Florida will emerge as a medical marijuana “superstate,” thanks to its population and industry rules.

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Cannabis Science Predictions

More CBD Use

The FDA-approved CBD tincture Epidiolex will be used off-label in new studies that verify CBD-derived whole plant botanical efficacy for Parkinson’s and other conditions.

Drugged Driving Breakthrough

New breath, blood, and saliva plus simulator studies will hone in on drugged driving limits for the first time.

Compiled by the Leafly News Team Bruce Barcott, Ben Adlin, and David Downs.

Think we got the future right or wrong? Give us your take in the comments!

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Leafly Staff

Leafly is the world’s largest cannabis information resource, empowering people in legal cannabis markets to learn about the right products for their lifestyle and wellness needs. Our team of cannabis professionals collectively share years of experience in all corners of the market, from growing and retail, to science and medicine, to data and technology.

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  • johnkelly

    weed is here to stay!!! LOVE IS HERE TO STAY TOO!!!! get ur share of both!! NOW!!!!

  • James Hall

    I think I’ll save this article so maybe the end of next year, I can hit you up for a free bowl (and not the shitty stuff, either)!

  • jim

    Number 26, after the big tobacco and big pharma purchase a controlling share of the cannabis market they will push for more unneeded and unnecessary regulations including no personal grow rights to maximize profits. LEO will also support this to help keep their cash flow up.
    Gentle Jim

  • Elicia Conley

    Still all those veterans working under federal employment who will not be able to get treatment even in states with medical laws. This upsets me

  • Crystal Campisi

    I would hope that 2019 will be cannabis re-scheduled to Schedule V, like cough syrup. There’s already ONE legal CBD product, made by GWPH. If you want to invest in cannabis stock (while the stock market is DOWN), buy some GWPH stock NOW! That’s my tip~

  • Rhizomorph

    Regarding pesticides… something that needs to be said at this point is this: if you can’t manage to grow cannabis successfully without using chemical pesticides, you need to get out of the business. There are natural alternatives for every extremely toxic pesticide. Mites, which are the biggest problem by far, can be eliminated with water that has had lavender oil mixed into it or lavender flowers soaked in it, so it is unconscionable to use things like Avid and other weird chemical miticides.

    • Daniel Gonzales

      Damn right you are Rhizomorph! I’ve been growing for years and that is one of the first things I was taught from my uncles who were 60s and 70s “guerrilla growers” NO DAMN CHEMICALS! When you grow your own you have room to experiment and the best all natural pesticide I found was Neem oil! Just a tsp of neem oil diluted in an 8oz spray bottle with pure water nothing else and that works awesome! No residual smells or tastes from it on the colas either! I love growing straight outdoors though I just mix my own little “super soil” I like to call it and then just let my plants thrive with nothing but water and sunshine!

  • Rae Culpepper

    New Mexico is currently legal for medical. Last year 66% of voters wanted recreational legalized, including the legislature. Our lovely Republican Governor vetoed. We just elected Michelle Lujan Grisham, Democrat Governor. NM will go recreational soon!👍

  • 360dunk

    ‘They’ll realize pesticide levels are too dang high and will step up regulations.’

    We already have strict mold and pesticide testing in Nevada, a state that cares whether its residents are consuming safe products. Other states would be wise to model their cannabis programs after ours. Believe me, it’s a relief knowing that every puff you inhale is not tainted.

    • Philip Cammarano

      Having a card from Montana i was able to access Nevada’s medical cannabis, i think other states should all model theirs on Nevada’s. I do think Nevada’s Cannabis prices are way too high. The prices on Cannabis and its concentrates needs to go down and will once people realize a few small plants can produce a lb or more for personal use every 90 days!

  • Steven

    Sounds like some progress is being made. 🙂

  • Adrian Medina

    Why so negative on the federal legalization. I heard it’s happening for sure but the end of 2019. Just look out for it. There’s major pushes being made. Legalize it!!


    I am still keeping my hopes up that Illinois will embrace the inevitable and just fully legalize. I don’t know how many more piss tests I can alter without losing my job. THC is the only substance that I use…. I guess I could go get a script now but why should I have to go pay for this when other AMERICANS don’t?

  • briteleaf

    Thee corporation that makes Marlboro cigarettes is investing over 2 BILLION DOLLARS INTO CANADIAN CANNABIS. We’re sending our money and our JOBS TO CANADA. Really stupid, really old thinking, really blind to research.

  • viper643

    NY governor with party majority will legalize in the first quarter of the year. although they will try to emulate the Nevada model, A system of recreational and medical will have different parameters. Medical products will be of a higher potency and deliverable via courier. The “fun” product will be available at reduced THC levels , without the courier service. The current medical dispensaries will expand in square footage and have the modern look of NV shops. However; the greedy political machine will instill such a high tax or fees on the product; that the black market will still thrive.

  • Philip Cammarano

    I feel your pain got busted in the 60’s for weed which meant the armed forces or 8 years in state prison, the Draconian Drug Laws have screwed up more peoples lives than ex wives!!!

  • Philip Cammarano

    Free the Weed, Free the People!!

  • Philip Cammarano

    You need to dry cannabis correctly! You also need to cure it. Drying it correctly and curing it correctly add to the potency and the flavor and the grassy taste is gone due to the chlorphyl dispersing as it dries