Chart: Maryland’s First-Year Medical Marijuana Sales Approach $100 Million: Maryland brought in $95.4 million in dispensary sales between Dec. 1, 2017, and Nov. 30, 2018, averaging 21% monthly growth and peaking in November at $13.8 million. That total surpassed first-year MMJ sales in Illinois, Massachusetts and New York – combined. A solid initial patient base of nearly 11,000 that grew 191% over seven months, finishing out the year with more than 50,000 certified patients. mjbizdaily.com
Cities Across Michigan Ban Legal Marijuana Sales: Since the passage of Proposition 1, officially known as the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act, which legalized marijuana for adults 21 and up last November, there is a new challenge: municipal opt-out. Similar to other states that have legalized adult-use marijuana like Colorado, California and Oregon, it’s up to municipal governments in Michigan to decide if legal marijuana businesses can operate within their communities. To date, more than 80 municipalities in Michigan have imposed moratoriums or outright bans on the sale of adult-use marijuana. blog.norml.org
Pot Sector Focus Shifts From Legalization to Legitimacy: We can sum up the year with three ‘L’ words: legalization, legitimization and listings.
- Legalization of medical marijuana has spread well beyond Canada to places like Thailand and the U.K. that few people saw coming
- Legitimization of the drug has gathered pace at an astonishing speed, with traditional consumer and pharmaceutical companies ranging from Constellation Brands Inc. and Anheuser-Busch InBev SA, to Altria Group Inc. and Novartis AG investing in or partnering with pot firms
- The number of cannabis listings has soared, with at least 149 companies worth a combined C$54.7 billion trading on Canadian stock exchanges as of Jan. 2. A growing number of those are U.S. firms with market values above C$1 billion.
What to Watch This Year
- The U.S. will dominate the news flow and stock listings: with the recently passed farm bill legalizing hemp, some say it’s only a matter of time before legislators follow suit and legalize cannabis nationwide. Others argue a divided Congress will stymie any real progress. Either way, 2019 will be America’s time in the marijuana spotlight as investor interest rapidly shifts from Canada to the much larger U.S. market, where consumer spending on legal cannabis is expected to reach $20.9 billion by 2021 from $11 billion last year, according to Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics
- As the U.S. weighs proposed legislation that could open up banking and stock exchanges to cannabis companies, institutional investors will feel increasingly comfortable investing in the space. To date, cannabis investments have largely been the purview of retail investors, family offices and specialty hedge funds
- Legalization of both medical and recreational cannabis will continue to spread around the world, with France, Italy, Peru, New Zealand and even Lebanon on the list of countries thought to be the next movers
- Clear winners and losers will begin to emerge in Canada as pot producers report their first earnings that include recreational sales. Expect plenty of consolidation and a few outright failures www.bloomberg.com
The New Congress Just Started And There’s Already A Bipartisan Marijuana Bill: The 116th Congress went into session and within hours a bipartisan marijuana reform bill was introduced in the House. Reps. Steve Cohen (D-TN) and Don Young (R-AK) re-introduced the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act, which would let states establish their own medical cannabis programs free of federal intervention and also allow physicians at the Department of Veterans Affairs to issue medical cannabis recommendations for veterans. The CARERS Act was first introduced in 2015 and again in 2017—by Cohen in the House and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) in the Senate. www.marijuanamoment.net
CBD-Only States: A Win for Medical Marijuana?: What’s next for CBD in the United States after the passage of the Farm Bill? With the removal of hemp-derived CBD from controlled substance status, big market growth is expected for the very chic and purportedly salubrious non-intoxicating cannabinoid. Some 30 states have passed medical marijuana laws (of widely varying degrees of leniency) either by legislation or referendum since California led the way with Prop 215 in 1996. But these are now joined by several states that have legalized only products containing CBD not the psychoactive cannabinoid THC. There is some controversy as to whether these states should be recognized as “medical marijuana” states. As the National Law Journal notes, Section 12619 of the Farm Bill formally removes hemp-derived products from Schedule I status under the Controlled Substances Act but does not legalize CBD more broadly. “The Farm Bill authorizes CBD only to the extent that it is contained in hemp produced in a manner consistent with the Farm Bill and other federal and state regulations,” National Law Journal states. Additionally, while hemp-derived CBD is removed from Schedule I, it is still subject to regulation by the Food & Drug Administration. And while the regulations are expected to change, the FDA currently considers CBD a drug and an illegal food ingredient. Hemp Industry Daily has just issued a Hemp & CBD Industry Factbook, projecting that CBD sales in the U.S. will exceed $1 billion by 2020. cannabisnow.com
Oregon Marijuana Could Be Exported Across State Lines Under Proposed Bill: Oregon could become the first state to allow marijuana exports to other legal states under a bill that’s been drafted for consideration in 2019. According to The Statesman Journal, a cannabis business alliance is working with state lawmakers to push the legislation forward. And at least one Democratic state senator, Floyd Prozanski, has already signaled that he’d be amenable to the proposal. Under the proposed legislation, Oregon wholesalers would be able to export cannabis products to other legal states such as Washington State and California, but it would not be legal to transport through non-legal states. The exports would only be authorized if Oregon’s governor made a deal with the receiving states. www.marijuanamoment.net
Chart: Massachusetts recreational marijuana sales soar in first month despite obstacles: Massachusetts dispensaries rang up $9.3 million in recreational marijuana sales during the first four weeks of operation, an impressive feat considering only two stores were selling adult-use cannabis during the bulk of this period. Compared with the first month of rec sales in other states, Massachusetts had lower gross sales but far fewer operating dispensaries than Oregon ($14 million, 320 dispensaries), Colorado ($14.7 million, 59 dispensaries) and Nevada ($27.1 million, 53 dispensaries). Mjbizdaily.com
|Vaping Wipes £100 Billion ($172 Billion CAD) off Tobacco Industry This Year: More than £100 billion ($172 billion CAD) has been wiped off the value of five of the world’s biggest tobacco companies amid growing fears over the rise of vaping and increased regulation. British American Tobacco (BAT) has been the worst affected losing about half of its stock market value. Rival firm Imperial Brand saw a fall in value of around a quarter while US companies Altria and Phillip Morris lost some 30%. The news comes after an experiment laid bare how much worse it is to smoke cigarettes than to vape, in the hope of encouraging thousands to kick the habit. www.dailymail.co.uk|
Feds To Spend $1.5 Million on Research Into Marijuana’s Lesser Known Components: The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, a federal agency, set aside $1.5 million for researchers to study how little-known cannabinoids and terpenes in marijuana—such as CBG, limonene and pinene—work, separately and when combined, as potential pain-relieving agents. Marijuana Moment
FDA Officials Confiscated CBD Edibles, Yuma Shop Owner Says: FDA officials confiscated CBD products from an Arizona smoke shop, the store’s owner said. David Murray, who owns Neverlow Glass Gallery, said they left no records, no warrant, just said they were FDA and flashed flip ID badges. Phoenix New Times
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Hires Former Marijuana Lobbyist As Senior Advisor: Dan Riffle, who most recently served as communications director to former Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and a legislative aide to former Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), will bring his expertise on health care and tax reform to the freshman congresswoman’s team at a time when her proposal to raise the top marginal tax rate is dominating headlines. Marijuana Moment
Maryland Marijuana Regulators Look to General Assembly to Help Resolve Ownership Controversy: Maryland’s medical marijuana regulators said Tuesday that the General Assembly likely will have to clarify whether state rules governing the cannabis industry were meant to prevent big out-of-state companies from dominating the market by taking over homegrown firms. The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission’s policy committee on Tuesday deferred voting on a proposal to amend existing regulations to make clear that companies cannot own more than one license in each of the industry’s three categories: growing cannabis, processing it into products and selling it at dispensaries. Commissioners said they expected the General Assembly to weigh in and decide the matter during the annual 90-day legislative session that begins Wednesday. Baltimore Sun
Nearly 90% of New Yorkers Busted for Marijuana Last Year Were Minorities Despite Major Drop in Pot Arrests: In all, 89% of all New Yorkers arrested for smoking marijuana last year through Nov. 23 were either black or Hispanic, while just 7% were white, according to figures posted by the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice. “People of color are over-policed and disproportionately brought into the criminal justice system for low-level offenses,” City Councilman Rory Lancman, a frequent critic of the de Blasio administration’s handling of criminal justice reforms, said Monday. Overall, the number of marijuana arrests as of Nov. 23 plummeted to 7,348 from 17,121 in 2017, records show. Daily News
Cannabis Trends to Watch in 2019: 2019 is poised to be a monumental year for the cannabis plant. The recent passage of the Farm Bill as well as sweeping changes across the most populated countries on earth are but two of the many reasons for this optimism. This comes off the heels of big change in 2018, when adult-use was implemented in the largest global consumer market (California) as well as the largest global capital market (Canada). We are well on our way to full federal legalization and continue to expect a nationwide resolution to the state-federal conflict by 2021. The five trends to watch in 2019 are:
- Banking and 280(E) resolution – The STATES (Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States) Act allows each state to set its own cannabis policy while requiring the Federal Government to defer to state legislation on the topic. A provision redefining trafficking removes barriers to full banking services, while a provision redefining profit sources as lawful eliminates the application of IRS Code 280(E) (current & severe restriction on standard business deductions for cannabis businesses).
- Hemp- It is difficult to overstate the positive impact that full-scale industrial hemp production will have on the US economy. The hemp market may well exceed the cannabis market as regulation, information and transparency work to drive greater adoption. For farmers and hemp-related businesses, the opportunities are unprecedented. For investors, this translates to significant returns in an industry that now has a legal pathway to grow at a rapid pace.
- Canada – While Canadian capital markets remain the richest and deepest in the cannabis world, expect to see a normalization of perspective as addressable market realities emerge from the clouds of optimistic exuberance.
- Market balance – Restrictive regulatory structures contrive a distribution system rather than allowing market economics to flourish and, along with disparate investment in parts of the supply chain, lead to supply imbalances. Oversupply is evidenced in Colorado, Washington and Oregon, while supply shortages have been rampant in Nevada and Massachusetts. Expect this trend to continue with California poised to become the next oversupply example. Conversely, expect U.S.-based industrial hemp biomass to fail to meet demand.
- Asia – China produces half of the world’s cannabis and holds over half of the world’s cannabis patents. In India, Cannabis was only banned in 1985 with the passage of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act and, with recent approval for legal cannabis cultivation accorded to IIM (Indian Institute of Management), the movement towards legalization is under way. The Asian cannabis legalization movement was bolstered by the recent passage of medical laws in South Korea and Thailand. Every third human is governed by the laws of these four countries, and at over 2.8 Billion people represents the largest legal cannabis impact on the planet. CFN
Cannabis is Poised to be an $80 Billion Industry in the U.S. in 2030 – Cowen: Vivien Azer, Cowen’s managing director and a leading analyst in the cannabis space, on Tuesday bumped up her forecast for U.S. cannabis sales to reach $80 billion by 2030, an increase of $5 billion from earlier estimates. This would represent an about 4% compound annual growth rate, relative to what Azer estimates is an about $50 billion industry today, and assumes federal legalization. Higher growth expectations in nascent markets as new states legalize medical and adult-use cannabis, as well as higher-than-expected incidence and reengagement rates into cannabis among lapsed users, drove the loftier outlook. Yahoo Finance
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