I remember reading last year that the CITES restrictions were being lifted on musical instruments so I'm wondering will rosewood make a return to lower end guitars? Will things go back to the way they were or will they stick with laurel and pau ferro?
Restrictions were not exactly lifted from CITES rules. Exemptions were put in place that cover finished goods like complete musical instruments. The CITES Appendix II rules still apply to rosewood in lumber form. So you still have issues and added costs for large manufacturers obtaining large stocks of rosewood for cheap guitars.
This is a non-issue for the small boutique makers. Shimamura music in Japan is running a special Brazillian rosewood event right now. Three high end makers are making special guitars for this event using Brazilian rosewood. These three makers seem to have a cache of 40+ year old Brazilian rosewood. Y.O.S. guitars just mamde a custom order scalloped one piece Brazilian rosewood neck for Takayoshi Ohmura for one of his signature ESP Snappers.