While legal cannabis sales continue to rise, the race is on for corporate giants to get in the cannabis industry through cannabis-infused drinks. While huge players like Pepsi Co. and Coca-Cola have speculated about bringing in new product lines to recuperate lost sales of sugary drinks, according to Bloomberg. Sales growth has been a point of concern for manufacturers of ultra-sugary beverages. Consumers are becoming more health conscious as wellness trends gain traction. Many speculate these companies will dip their toes into the infused-beverage market sooner rather than later to make their brands appeal younger consumers. Coca-Cola mentioned doing light research and development into “functional and wellness beverages around the world.”
With major beverage players thinking about the cannabis space, the popularity of CBD based drinks on the rise around the country, and Canada on the verge of federal legalization, the cannabis drink market is poised to explode, according to a report by Canaccord Genuity Group Inc. They’re predicting cannabis-infused beverages will make up 19 percent of total recreational cannabis sales in the US by 2022; a sales total they’re estimating at $600 million. Right now cannabis drinks make up about one percent of recreational cannabis sales in the US. These estimates are partially based from Colorado’s legal cannabis drink sales, which nearly doubled from 2014 to 2017 and continue to increase into 2018.
Cannabis drinks allow users to enjoy cannabis during social setting when smoking isn’t an option. It also allows people to keep their cannabis use private, as the use of cannabis isn’t accepted to the degree that something like alcohol is. These factors, as well as increased availability, could be reasons for the speed of sales increases.
Another factor in Washington could push the edibles sales towards cannabis drinks, the WSLCB’s new restriction on edible candy. The WSLCB recently announced harsh new edible candy restrictions in an effort to reduce their appeal to children. These new restrictions take place on Jan. 1, 2019. Edibles currently make up nine percent of Washington’s legal cannabis sales, per WSLCB. It will be interesting to see if these changes push current edible users to try other products like cannabis drinks or abandon edibles altogether.
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Adults 21 and over can purchase up to one ounce of usable cannabis flower, 16 ounces of cannabis-infused edibles in solid form, 72 ounces of cannabis drinkables, and 7 grams of cannabis concentrates.
If you’re a registered medical cannabis patient, the limits are:
Three ounces of usable cannabis flower, forty-eight ounces of cannabis-infused edibles in solid form, two hundred sixteen ounces of cannabis drinkables, and twenty-one grams of cannabis concentrates, per the Washington State Department of Health.