Marijuana Edibles Industry Takes Off, Faces Regulatory Challenges

marijuana edibles industry

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There’s a new niche industry that’s experiencing massive growth in several states. And it’s primarily made up of small, independent businesses.

The marijuana edibles industry consists of a growing number of small businesses that make a variety of different food items and edibles with a twist. Whether these businesses are targeting people with a medical need, or just operating in states where recreational use has been legalized, there’s a huge “growing” demand for marijuana edibles and similar products.

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But starting a business in the marijuana edibles industry isn’t like opening up a bakery or any other business in an established industry. Even in states where it’s legal, there are many different regulatory challenges that these businesses have to face on a daily basis.

Regulatory Challenges in the Marijuana Edibles Industry

Bob Eschino is the co-owner of one such company. He runs the Incredibles brand of infused edibles in the Denver area. He told Small Business Trends in an exclusive interview that he deals with regulatory challenges and issues every single day. From being turned down for rental space to not being able to secure a bank loan because of what the business does, he said that the challenges are unlike any he’s ever encountered in business before.

marijuana edibles industry 2

Eschino said, “Every few months there’s some new major issue that comes up to try and destroy the industry. There are anti-cannabis groups trying to ban edibles or get us to change the potency or change how we grow the plants. So we’re constantly under attack from outside forces and regulatory forces when it comes to everything, even right down to packaging and labeling.”

But with those risks, there can be high rewards. Eschino also said that the business has grown much faster than he or his business partner anticipated when they first started. Currently, Eschino’s company has a team of 60 people. And he expects it to grow to 80 by the end of the year. But when they first started the business about five years ago, they only expected it to be a small side business.

Incredibles isn’t the only brand that’s thriving in this new industry, however. Yummi Karma is a growing business that takes a more savory approach to marijuana edibles. The company has faced some of the same regulatory challenges, so they try to take a proactive approach.

CEO Krystal Kitahara said in an exclusive interview with Small Business Trends, “Yummi Karma prides itself on being overly compliant with cannabis regulations. We are currently switching over all of our packaging to comply with the strictest regulations in the state. We are also looking to be one of the first cannabis manufacturers to apply for and obtain a state license.”

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The variety of products you can develop into marijuana edibles is constantly changing as well. Incredibles has several different lines of products, including some new ones the team is working to release in the future. But their most popular products include several chocolate items.

Yummi Karma focuses more on savory items like salad dressings, potato chips and even a sriracha sauce. Cheeba Chews sells chewable items like gummies, taffy and caramels. And Dixie Elixirs sells everything from chocolate and caramels to topicals and vape.

You can also find the following items from various marijuana edibles businesses:

  • Cookies
  • Butter
  • Gummy Bears
  • Chocolate
  • Lollipops
  • Drinks
  • Brownies
  • Pizza
  • Granola Bars
  • Ice Cream
  • Popcorn
  • Hard Candy
  • Honey
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Cupcakes
  • Gum Drops
  • Hazelnut Spread
  • Cough Drops
  • Coconut Oil
  • Ramen Noodles

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There’s even an entire industry now devoted to cookbooks for edibles. There are also business and marketing plans now being developed specifically for this industry.

So while there are a lot of changes coming about to adapt to this new, growing marijuana edibles industry, there’s a lot more that’s likely to change in the coming months and years.

Regulatory and policy changes in various states make running a marijuana edibles business interesting. And while the future of the marijuana edibles industry is far from set in stone, the rapid growth of companies like Yummi Karma and Incredibles make it clear that there is a large demand for what these companies offer.

Brownie, Cake, Seeds, Oil Images via Shutterstock

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Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

5 Reactions
  1. This is going to continue to be a difficult space because though some states have legalized marijuana to various degrees, it’s still illegal at the federal level. That creates a lot of uncertainty. Then you factor in the large amount of marijuana and marijuana derivatives you need to use as ingredients and you need a lot of oversight. But as we see, if they succeed the demand seems to be there.

  2. The demand is HUGE for oils or concentrates and edibles, however, we do have Federal Government in the way of our health and commerce. After we get the Government out of our business, the edibles will be in high demand for every senior citizen care facility in the world. These older folks are in need of cannabis as a daily medicine and for general quality-of-life issues.
    The market for ill and sick people is also untapped due to government interference with progress in America and American businesses.
    After we get the government out of the way of progress, the market segment will be largest in the world over all pharmaceuticals.

  3. Since this is a relatively new industry, there’s a lot of regulations and policies that will arise to try and control it. I am sure that this urgency to police it will eventually die down. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Who can you talk to if you have a idea? On a different way to use cannabis? If not then to who can I talk to selling my idea?

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