Cannabis businesses took over the Colorado Convention Center this week as the National Cannabis Industry Association held its Seed to Sale Show on February 7 and 8. Made up of nearly 1,600 members, the NCIA is one of the largest industry groups in legal cannabis and has been holding annual events in Denver to showcase industry trends and technology for over five years.
The technology around legal cannabis has evolved rapidly since its commercial awakening. Consumer trends and products are constantly changing, and events like the Seed to Sale Show often offer a glimpse into what the future of retail pot will look like. Here are five of my favorite up-and-coming consumer trends from the NCIA convention.
Personal Rosin Presses
Rosin has become more popular over the last few years, finding its niche as both a solventless concentrate and something relatively easy to make at home with household equipment. Using a hair straightener and wax paper, users would essentially squeeze the THC out of flower with pressure and heat. However, the hair straightener isn't needed anymore, because at-home rosin pressing isn't just here, it's affordable. Some companies have personal rosin presses for as low as $150, and they're specifically designed to squeeze all the life you can out of those poor little nuglets without stealing your roommate's hair supplies.
Once an expensive luxury because of its higher THC content and lack of impurities, distillate is quickly dropping in price thanks to falling wholesale flower prices, according to Organa Brands president Chris Driessen, who also oversees Organa's vaporizer brand, O.penVape. Another reason to thank falling distillate prices is because of improving technology, says Lab Society's Mark Lolla, who sells the molecular distillation machines that distill butane and Co2 concentrates into a more potent, flavorless form."We're seeing around a 95 percent return on THC and yielding around 75 percent in volume from what goes in there," Lolla explains, pointing to the edibles and vaporizer markets as distillate's largest wholesale buyers. "More people are learning how to make it, and we're doing it faster, better and yielding more," he says. "I think it'll be $5 a gram wholesale in the near future."
According to employees at Grasshopper, a company that makes self-service vending machines and storage lockers for cannabis businesses, the only thing stopping their product from reaching Colorado is labeling laws, which require a little more detail than those in other states, and an extra printer in the Grasshopper machines. However, the company can see itself in Colorado within a year, providing sales kiosks that can sell pre-rolls, edibles, vape cartridges and anything else you'd need at a dispensary — without a customer having to wait for the budtender to explain what THC is to a tourist from Louisiana.
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Hemp has been exploding in Colorado, and that boom (largely because of CBD's rising popularity) has led to some pretty cool genetic achievements. Companies such asthe National Hemp Exchange are breeding the plant for certain qualities that promote quality fibers and stalks, high CBD production and high-yielding flower. The best part? You can actually buy this and grow it without a medical marijuana license or private setup, because hemp doesn't have the same growing or purchasing restrictions as psychoactive cannabis.
Double Barrel Vaporizers
Pre-filled vaporizers and cartridges are one of the most popular forms of cannabis consumption, with companies like Evolab and O.penVape churning out products with new flavors and oils to attract new user demographics. However, a California company called Double Barrel is making a device for potheads, designing a a battery and cartridge holder capable of holding and heating two pre-filled cartridges at once for one helluva rip. Holes on each end allow users to block them with their finger to hit only one at a time, if they wish, but nobody buys a double-barrel shotgun to shoot one bullet, so why change now? Sadly, Double Barrel is still looking for licensing and distribution partners in Colorado, but the company expects to be in the state within the next year or so.