Innovation drives shift in cannabis product demand, especially around 4/20

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Bar graph showing market share of noncombustible cannabis products

A critical aspect of cannabis retail success is knowing what your customers want – and when.

Marijuana’s unofficial holiday, 4/20, is upon the industry, with expectations of good turnouts for in-person celebrations now that most COVID-19 pandemic restrictions have been lifted.

Many cannabis retailers said they expected an increase of 30%-50% in overall sales in the days leading up to the industry’s special day.

But any sales today don’t necessarily represent overall customer demand trends for the rest of the year, according to data in the new 2022 MJBiz Factbook, which is now available.

Inhalables still dominate overall demand in adult-use markets, data analysis by Seattle-based analytics firm Headset shows.

But noncombustible forms are slowly capturing market share from flower and pre-rolls – particularly vape pens, which accounted for nearly a quarter of overall sales in the first quarter of 2022.

The market share of noncombustible products now stands at 46.6%, three percentage points higher than a year ago, according to Headset.

Retailers say innovation is a driver of much of this growth.

There’s only so much change that can be introduced to the flower and pre-roll form factors beyond boosting the THC content.

But other categories, including edibles and beverages, are ripe for development as a largely untapped market.

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For example, functional beverages, which include products such as sports drinks and kombucha, are estimated to be a $48.4 billion dollar market in the U.S., according to data from Euromonitor International.

Many consumers view marijuana as “medicine,” even in recreational markets, providing significant opportunity for the manufacturer who can find the key to an attractive cannabis beverage.

Even pre-roll makers are counting on innovation to boost interest, introducing paper infused with different terpenes or concentrates to boost the experience.

Read more about cannabis trends in the 2022 MJBiz Factbook, which is now available

Jenel Stelton-Holtmeier can be reached at

If you’re interested in what types of 4/20 promotions your fellow business owners are offering this year, take a peek here:


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