What will the market look like?
Lewis says edibles are a “slow emerging product on the market” in Massachusetts, in part due to the fact that the state’s medical marijuana program went through such a delayed rollout. But in other states, they’ve been exploding in popularity.
Various estimates peg edibles somewhere between 10 and 20 percent of the overall retail pot market. In Colorado, Livingston says flower makes up around half of the market, marijuana concentrate makes up a third, and the rest — roughly a sixth — is comprised of edibles and topical products. According to Forbes, that share is expected to grow 25 percent annually. In Nevada, which voted to legalize retail pot in 2016 like Massachusetts, edibles reportedly accounted for 45 percent of all weed sales.
“It’s a good time to jump in now,” Lewis said.
That doesn’t mean the industry is an easy one to get into. Massachusetts is already expected to face a supply problem in the nascent industry’s first months, if not years, and the upfront costs of running an edibles company could be stifling. According to Lewis, individual businesses must prepare to raise “substantial capital” to cover the costs of satisfying the regulations on tracking, testing, and labeling their products, in addition to operating a commercial kitchen.
“It’s like running a kitchen and a lab,” she said.
Pricing obviously depends on the type of food being infused. Krane says to expect 100-milligram edibles in the $30 to $60 range. The state’s wider recreational weed market is expected to experience high prices at first, before eventually stabilizing below black market averages — though that could take at least a year.
However tempered individual companies’ growth expectations should be, there’s enthusiasm for the entirely new industry to take off on the East Coast. While many retail stores will offer edibles as a side to their main flower offerings, some companies are expected to make them their sole focus.
“I think it’s going to open up a ton of beautiful products — a lot of of innovation in edibles and food science,” Lewis said.