Vaping is the greatest revenue generator for the cannabis derivatives industry. Before the vaping crisis hit the cannabis industry, experts believed that vape sales accounted for almost a quarter of all cannabis sales in the U.S.
And even though the vaping crisis suppressed the growth of the cannabis vaping industry for a while, it seems that certain key markets started growing again, albeit at a slower pace.
What’s the state of the cannabis vaping industry in 2020, and where is the industry heading? Let’s find out.
How the vaping crisis affected the industry
The U.S. vaping industry was worth $1.6 billion (€1.4 billion) in 2018, and experts believed it would grow to $2.5 billion (€2.25 billion) in 2019 and then to $10.6 billion (€9.56 billion) in 2024. But, at the end of September 2019, as more people ended up in hospitals across the U.S. because of vaping, all predictions were off and the future of cannabis vapes was in doubt.
Some of the biggest cannabis companies in the world — Canopy Growth, Aurora Cannabis, Tilray and Cronos Group — suffered losses of about $10 billion (€9 billion) since August 2019, when the vaping crisis started. Without a doubt, these financial losses cannot be attributed to vaping exclusively, but the crisis surely contributed.
The vaping crisis also brought to light other problems: counterfeit products somehow reached the market and unlicensed cannabis sales are still common in states that legalised recreational cannabis.
Until the vaping crisis, illegal cannabis sales only affected the industry from a financial point of view. Yet, now these sales were responsible for one of the worst epidemics in recent U.S. history. As a result, multiple states ordered a ban on all vaping products.
But, in a capitalist world, one’s misfortune breeds opportunity for others. And that’s exactly what’s happening in the vaping industry right now.
Big Weed meets Big Tech to improve the cannabis vaping industry
It’s no secret that Silicon Valley entrepreneurs are investing in cannabis. Whether they are involved in designing new vaporizers, developing mobile apps or launching their own brands, tech millionaires are excited to feature cannabis in their portfolios.
In the wake of the vaping crisis, cannabis businesses realised that they should help their customers consume cannabis safely. So, cannabis companies reached out to tech companies to make their products more appealing to the public.
Lucid Green became more transparent by creating an app that allows users to interact with each of the company’s products. The app helps users learn how the product was made, how to consume it responsibly, and it also shows users the product’s lab analysis and test results.
Airgraft designed pods that are impossible to counterfeit. Each of the company’s pods has a unique identifier that’s secured using crypto standards. This enables consumers to know that their vaping liquid is original and has been thoroughly tested before it reached the market.
PAX launched an app that helps its users change the temperature of their vaping devices, select different colours and lock them to prevent other people from using them. The app also helps users to manage their vapour and flavour output, and it displays the vape pen’s battery level.
Ilo launched a portable vaporizer that helps to take measured doses of cannabinoids with every puff, and so on.
The cannabis industry is using tech to improve, and that can only lead to a better customer experience.
The evolution of the global cannabis vaping industry
This year marks the start of Canada’s ‘Cannabis 2.0’, which means that Canadians can now purchase cannabis vape cartridges, edibles, topicals and beverages. However, the project’s launch wasn’t a success.
Only 10 cannabis companies provided the newly regulated products to Canadian shops. As a result, shops in Ontario ran out of edible products within hours and their reserves of vape cartridges diminished quickly.
However, the bottleneck in the Canadian market is not determined by a lack of products but by a low number of retailers. Canadian corporations have the production capacity to meet the domestic demand, but the current legal framework creates distribution problems.
And the Canadian cannabis giants are about to enter new markets.
New Zealand recently said it plans to reverse its ban on vaporizers. This reversal will allow international cannabis companies to sell their vaping devices in New Zealand if the devices have been approved as a medical device by the authorities of other countries.
Things are bound to change in Europe, as well, and that might boost the cannabis vaping industry. Germany seems determined to legalise cannabis, France launched a medical cannabis experiment, Luxembourg said it will relax its drug laws, and more countries have legalised or plan to legalise medical cannabis in the near future. Not to mention the popularity CBD has in Europe.
The cannabis vaping business will thrive
Companies that invested in cannabis vaping might not be earning a lot now that the vaping crisis has just affected the industry, but they will make huge profits in the future.
Cannabis vaping is quickly becoming a public favourite in North America, and the trend is bound to repeat itself in every new cannabis market. As more countries prepare to legalise medical and/or recreational cannabis, the number of people who prefer vapes over other cannabis products will only increase.