CALIFORNIA: With one year of legal adult use cannabis sales in Colorado and an additional four states and Washington D.C. voting to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, headlines have prompted increasingly bigger waves of investment in the semi-legal industry. By the presidential election of 2016, Arcview Market Research estimates 11 more states will have legalized adult use cannabis, giving the aboveground national cannabis market a $10 billion value by 2018.
As more states move towards regulating both the medical and recreational cannabis markets, demand has driven a steady move from raw cannabis to extracted cannabis concentrates. These concentrates have not only boomed in popularity—comprising between 30 and 60 percent of legal market sales—they have blasted their way through residential neighborhoods and onto local news headlines across the country. Amateur extractions have been responsible for at least a handful of deaths and a greater number of dangerous explosions in the residential neighborhoods where they extract. While many purist cannabis activists strongly push for the right to grow-your-own in any legislation, most advocates and industry stakeholders agree that extract production must be heavily regulated because the market will thrive regardless.
“The future of the extract market is the future of this industry,” says Brandon Krenzler, marketing director for Sirius Extracts, a Portland, Ore.-based extraction company. “People are stepping away from flower [marijuana buds] and getting more into the purified concentrates. There is room for an immense amount of growth and that is what we are going to see from here on forward.”
Professional extractors in legal states say DIY home-producers are a “black eye” on an industry that is both inherently medical but also wildly popular and lucrative. These legal extractors crave regulation, and try to stay a step ahead of the government in safety procedures.