As the cannabis industry continues to expand rapidly, it might seem as though there's nowhere to go but up. In some ways, that's true. Nearly 250,000 full-time jobs are expected to open in the field between 2020 and 2024. Despite these positives, though, there are still challenges facing the industry, even in this current year. These are the three biggest challenges affecting the cannabis industry in 2021, but these challenges may prove to be opportunities for growth — literally! If you’re a professional in this field, be prepared to face these obstacles head-on.
Continuing Questions of Legality
Since Washington and Colorado first legalized recreational use in 2012, many states have followed suit and legalized the recreational use of cannabis. Though this presents monumental progress, it also highlights what work remains to be done. Indeed, questions of legality remain one of the greatest challenges facing cannabis businesses. While individual states may legalize cannabis, it remains illegal at the federal level, meaning that it can be risky to engage in any business involving cannabis — even if your state has legalized it.
Obstacles in Securing Banking
Because of the questionable legality, even in states where it has been legalized, many cannabis companies have difficulty securing a partnership with a financial institution. Many banks are hesitant to offer accounts to cannabis-based industries, which forces such businesses to operate in cash. Cannabis insurance covers many liabilities, including some that affect cash-based businesses. Congress, unfortunately, has maintained restrictions on bank accounts for cannabis companies. In addition to the risk of crime, this limits businesses’ ability to expand effectively.
Lingering Stigma Surrounding Cannabis
Of course, one of the most obvious obstacles facing the cannabis industry is the lingering stigma that surrounds it. Companies have identified a number of ways to combat this stigma, including the following strategies:
- Openly sharing benefits of cannabis
- Increasing efforts towards legalization
- Listen to concerns with compassion
Even with copious evidence that it has legitimate medicinal value, many people view it negatively, and lump it in with “addiction industries” such as alcohol and tobacco. As cannabis experts know, this is entirely erroneous, but the aforementioned strategies can help minimize this stigma.
Unfair and Discriminatory Regulation of Cannabis Use
Unfortunately, one of the most impactful obstacles facing the cannabis industry is the unfair and discriminatory regulation of cannabis use. Even in states where it has been recreationally legalized, many institutions are permitted to drug test and act against any person who produces a positive test. Some of the areas which may be subject to discrimination include the following:
- Receipt of public aid
- Housing, public and private
- Student loan qualification
Regulation of cannabis remains largely focused on controlling businesses rather than enforcing fair use standards for patrons of said businesses. There is a great need for anti-discrimination legislation that will minimize stigma and allow cannabis businesses to run more freely.
About Axis Insurance
At Axis Insurance Services, we aim to help our customers identify their exposures and protect themselves. Founded in 1999, we offer insurance programs to a wide variety of professionals and industries including attorneys, real estate, healthcare, architects, and more, and also have a wholesale division. We pride ourselves on offering flexible insurance coverage tailored specifically to each customer’s needs. To learn more about our solutions, contact us at (877) 787-5258 to speak with one of our professionals.
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