The Battle Between Insurance Companies and Medical Marijuana Wages On: Sun Life and many of Canada’s major health insurance companies have cautiously approached the Medical Marijuana landscape due to the potentially high costs of coverage, and thin clinical proof of its effectiveness. In the U.S. insurance providers are countlessly denying claims due to federal roadblocks, even with state courts pushing for fair use. Will new rulings outweigh the old in an act to reshape the judicial system? Unfortunately we don’t see widespread Medical Cannabis coverage realistic in the short term, however, progress is definitely still being made in the right direction.
According to a New Hampshire Supreme Court decision, the court ruled in favour of Mr. Panaggio, age 59, who was demanding coverage for an on the job injury. Using Medical Marijuana to treat the pain caused by his injury, the board re-reviewed the case and did admit they found it to be a therapeutic benefit to him, however, both the board and the court could not confirm the coverage because of Marijuana’s criminal status federally. “It’s been an emotional rollercoaster,” said Panaggio, a former chemical worker in Nashua, New Hampshire, who was injured in 1991 and has been fighting for insurance coverage ever since.
Michigan Medical Marijuana Sales Top $42 Million in 4 Months, Introducing the Next Big Player in the State: Michigan’s Medical Marijuana market is off to a hot start, racking in over $42 million in revenue in just its first 4 months of business. Dispensaries officially opened for business on November 1, 2018, and the demand for Medical Cannabis is clearly evident.
According to the state Department of Licensing and Regulation Michigan pulled in $7.1 million in Cannabis sales during the first month alone. Sales ballooned to $11.9 million in January 2019 before leveling off in February for a total of $11.2 million. The small decline in sales is likely due to the extremely cold weather, as well as February, being a shorter month. Nevertheless, Michigan was able to rack up total sales of exactly $42,061,557 in their first 4 months of legal operations.
With all the buzz surrounding Michigan’s burgeoning Cannabis market the obvious question is how can investors get involved and which stocks can they invest in to gain exposure to this new market? Introducing the big Michigan Marijuana player…
The NFL is Planning to Relax its Marijuana Policy: The National Football League seems to be in the midst of their own Cannabis evolution. As of last Wednesday, an NBC Sports report stated that the NFL is preparing to make major compromises in regards to its current Marijuana policy and how it overlaps with player substance abuse. This is colossal news, as they approach the next collective bargaining agreement with players. Sports analysts alike, expect the NFL to not only eliminate Cannabis from its substance policy but to also use it as a bargaining chip in future negotiations with the players union. What privileges they hope to receive in return remain unknown to us at this time.
These reports roused a response from the Dallas Cowboys’ David Irving, who is currently on a league suspension. “Well once they do that, give me a call,” Irving replied. “Cuz it’s bullshit how I have Xanax bars n hydros right next to me to take, given to me by the NFL of course.
Bernie Sanders’ 2020 Presidential Bid Will Make Marijuana Legalization a Top Priority: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) made his comeback campaign official, as just last month he announced that he is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020. This time, with an even more narrowed focus on his core priorities. Racial disparities, criminal justice and changing federal drug and Marijuana laws are what Bernie calls the most important issues the country faces. Many remember Sanders for his strong stance on federal Marijuana prohibition – as he was one of the first major presidential candidates to endorse a Cannabis legalization bill from the Senate. It seems now he’s back and hoping his “grassroots” approach can spark the hearts of many once again.
During his rallies in Brooklyn and Chicago over the last month, it was common to hear phrases like; “No More profiteering from locking people up, no more war on drugs! No more keeping people in jail because they are too poor to afford a cash bail.” These were just a few statements Bernie made around criminal justice reform. “We are going to change a system in which tens of thousands of Americans every year get criminal records for possessing Marijuana, but not one major Wall Street executive went to jail for destroying our economy in 2008”, he said.
New Jersey Governor And Lawmakers Announce Marijuana Legalization Deal – After months of debate over the nuances of marijuana legalization legislation, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) and leaders in the legislature have reached a broad agreement. A compromise was reached to tax cannabis by weight, rather than by price. Under the agreement, there will be a $42 per ounce excise tax as well as additional local taxes for municipalities that opt to allow manufacturers, wholesalers or retailers. In his annual budget proposal last week, the governor estimated that the state would collect $60 million in marijuana tax revenue for the 2020 fiscal year. The legislation will establish a system to expedite the clearing of records for prior low-level cannabis convictions and also create a “virtual expungement process” that would prevent marijuana offenses from affecting things like education, house and occupational licensing.
Michigan Adds Cerebral Palsy to List of Qualifying Conditions for Medical Cannabis – Michigan regulators expanded the state’s list of qualifying illnesses for medical marijuana use by adding cerebral palsy. The decision is expected to bring more patients into the state’s medical cannabis program and thus broaden the number of customers that MMJ companies can reach. Michigan has more than 294,000 medical marijuana cardholders.
SF to start Permitting Cannabis Smoking, Sales at Events — But Not in Time for this Year’s 420 – Smoking and selling cannabis at San Francisco events have gone hand-in-hand for decades, but now The City will attempt to regulate it through permits. Legislation introduced by Supervisor Rafael Mandelman creating the first ever permit for cannabis sales and consumption at events was approved 9-2 Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors. The proposal implements state legislation that took effect Jan. 1, giving cities throughout the state this legal authority. The Office of Cannabis will administer the permits, which will initially only be available for events that have traditionally involved unpermitted pot smoking and cannabis sales, such as Outside Lands, Hardly Strictly, 420, How Weird, Clusterfest, Carnaval and Pride. Events also need to obtain state permits. State regulations require that consumption would have to occur in designated areas only accessible by those aged 21 or over. “I am concerned about how this may undermine our existing policies and protections from second-smoke exposure,” Mar said. He noted that the board has passed 15 different anti-smoking ordinances over the years.
UN Organizations Unite In Call for International Drug Decriminalization – The UN Chief Executives Board (CEB), which represents 31 UN agencies including the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), adopted a position stipulating that member states should pursue science-based, health-oriented drug policies—namely decriminalization. The significance of the decriminalization endorsement is hard to overstate. Not only does it represent a substantial evolution on the part of certain UN agencies like the UNODC, which has historically supported the enforcement of punitive drug laws, but it also comes ahead of a major international meeting that will shape future UN drug policy. The UN CEB said the agencies agreed to “commit to stepping up our joint efforts and supporting each other” in a variety of ways. It will “promote alternatives to conviction and punishment in appropriate cases, including the decriminalization of drug possession for personal use,” for example. Other policies the organization is embracing include investing in harm reduction programs, calling for universal health care coverage for substance use disorders, addressing prison overcrowding and eliminating the stigma and discrimination associated with drug use.
CA Class Action Suit Set to Proceed Against County That Banned Marijuana Grows: A class action lawsuit against a rural California county that prohibited marijuana grows after collecting taxes and fees from hundreds of cultivators is poised to proceed after a judge’s ruling that overruled objections from the county. The lawsuit – filed last August on behalf of several hundred MJ farmers in Calaveras County – seeks the return of roughly $16 million in taxes and fees paid to the county. The county has already agreed to refund nearly $1 million in fees, but that wasn’t enough to settle the dispute.
Alaska Is Officially The First State To Legalize On-Site Marijuana Consumption – Later this year, Alaska marijuana consumers will be able to buy their cannabis and smoke it, too—all under the same roof. Adults 21 and over can buy regulated and taxed cannabis from licensed storefront dispensaries in a growing number of U.S. states—but until Alaska Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer (R) signed his state’s new on-site consumption regulations into law on Tuesday, no states had explicitly permitted on-site consumption. Licensed retail businesses in Alaska will be able to begin applying for a “special onsite use endorsement” beginning April 11.
Ohio Grants Cannabis Firm Permission to Produce Concentrates, Edibles, Topicals – Ohio awarded the state’s first certificate of operation to a medical marijuana processor, which will allow for manufacturing of cannabis edibles, tinctures, topicals, and other products. This could prove a boon to sales for Ohio’s medical marijuana firms because only plant material – flower – has been available for purchase since the state’s first dispensaries opened in mid-January. Grow Ohio in Muskingum County received its certificate last week.
Cannabis Stocks Rally After Latest M&A Deal, as New Jersey Reaches Deal on Legal Weed: Cannabis stocks were higher Tuesday, as investors digested the latest M&A deal in the sector and monitored efforts to legalize the substance in New York and New Jersey. New Jersey, top lawmakers announced early Tuesday that they have reached a deal on legalization after months of talks and negotiations. Gov. Phil Murphy said a vote will be held on March 25 for both houses to approve the bill, paving the way for him to sign it into law. New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters on Monday that cannabis legalization may not be included in his budget for the coming fiscal year, after pushback from lawmakers who are seeking to ensure people of color are guaranteed a share of the legal market, which is expected to be worth billions of dollars in sales. Harvest Health & Recreation Inc. rose another 6%, a day after it unveiled plans to buy rival cannabis company Verano Holdings LLC for $850 million in stock. The lofty price is based on Harvest’s C$8.79 ($6.55) price. Harvest went public in November on the CSE. The stock has gained 32% in 2019 so far, compared with a 0.3% gain for the S&P 500.
California Marijuana Business Licenses Expiring at a Rapid Clip: California’s cannabis industry is facing a licensing quandary, which state legislation likely will address, but the situation could still prove problematic for businesses that want to comply with the law instead of joining the illicit market. The problem: Thousands of temporary business licenses – under which most of the legal MJ supply chain has operated since the start of 2018 – will likely expire well before the state finishes processing annual or provisional licenses to replace the temporary permits. That might leave much of the industry without any legal way to keep doing business, at least for a short while if the temporary permits expire and companies have yet to receive a provisional or annual permit. The thousands of expiring cultivation and manufacturing licenses could translate into a short-term marijuana supply shortage for retailers and other businesses whose licenses remain valid.
Ottawa’s Latest Rules Risk Ruining Cannabis-Infused Beverages Before They’re Even Legal: The first main issue with the draft regulations are the proposed production rules and how they impact infused beverages. Infused beverages will have to be manufactured in buildings that are entirely separate from any and all other food production. This will mean that in order to actually produce these beverages, manufacturers will need entirely new buildings and facilities, rather than simply creating sealed and secure rooms within existing facilities. The last major issue with the draft regulations is how these products will be named. If amendments are not made to the regulations, infused de-alcoholized beverages will not be allowed to be called “beer” or “wine.” This is problematic because beer and wine are the popular nomenclature for products of a similar nature. Clamping down on the use of beer and wine is similar to when the dairy industry tried to sue and shut down almond, soy and rice milk manufacturers for using the term “milk.” Cannabis-infused beverages have the potential to be one of the safest and most popular methods to consume cannabis, but that is only possible if legislators don’t ruin these beverages before they even become legal.
Low Number of Approved Cannabis Stores Reduces B.C. Revenue: Expectations were high but so far, the B.C. government isn’t seeing a lot of green from marijuana legalization. Cannabis revenue projections were budgeted at $200 million over three years. But the NDP government has had to revise that to just $68 million. Finance minister Carole James says the number of pot shops approved to sell cannabis so far is nowhere near what it will be. So far, only 14 cannabis licenses have been approved province-wide. But the province is hopeful as more stores come online, and with the sale of edibles expected to start this fall, revenue numbers will increase.
M&A Activity Continues to Ramp up Among US Cannabis Cultivators, Retailers: M&A activity this year is outpacing the number of deals closed this time last year. Through March 1, 66 M&A deals have been inked compared with 44 during the same period last year. Cultivators and retailers continue to be top takeover targets with nearly 30 deals closed this year, according to Viridian data.
Which States Have the Highest Taxes on Marijuana?: When comparing cannabis prices across states that have recreationally legalized, it’s easy to assume that the rates at which cannabis is taxed dictate the prices consumers are paying in dispensaries. For example, California has high tax rates for their cannabis, and also have some of the most expensive prices on the legal market.
Washington cannabis is taxed at 47.1%, making that state’s marijuana the most taxed in the country. California comes in second, at a tax rate of 40.3%. Yet, according to Wikileaf’s menu data below, the average price of an eighth after all taxes in Washington is the fifth most expensive out of eight states, while California comes in two spots more expensive
FDA Commissioner Resigns, Leaving CBD Status Uncertain: Scott Gottlieb, commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), resigned on Tuesday. In the cannabis industry, Gottlieb’s departure raises immediate questions about the status of CBD. Congress’ passage of the farm bill in late 2018 seemed to open the door to nationwide CBD legality. But the DEA still considers non prescribed CBD to be an illegal Schedule I drug, and many legal scholars caution against assuming that CBD is legal just because it’s available in a growing number of mainstream stores. Gottlieb’s presence mattered because he has made CBD, along with nicotine vaping and opioid abuse, one of his high-priority issues. Just recently, Gottlieb told a congressional committee that the FDA was “deeply focused” on finding an appropriate way to handle CBD. Gottlieb also said he’d like to work with Congress to find a legislative solution that would allow CBD to be sold in conventional food and dietary supplement stores.
Georgia House Passes Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Bill: The Georgia House on Tuesday approved a bill that would allow medical marijuana to be grown, manufactured and distributed in the state. The bill passed on a 123-40 vote and will allow patients a legal way to obtain medical marijuana oil in the state. Georgia has previously allowed patients to use medical marijuana for seizures and cancers since 2015. Former Gov. Nathan Deal signed a bill last year allowing for those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and intractable pain to use cannabis oil for treatment. However, it has previously been against the law to grow, buy, sell or transport the drug, leaving patients on the medical marijuana registry with no method of obtaining it, the newspaper noted. The proposal would also license 60 medical marijuana dispensaries in the state, with licenses costing $150,000 for large companies, $37,500 for smaller companies and $30,000 for retailers. The dispensaries will serve the more than 8,400 Georgians listed on the medical marijuana registry. Marijuana will still be prohibited for recreational use, the Journal-Constitution noted.
MI Regulators Set to Close About 50 Unlicensed Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in April: Michigan regulators are poised to enforce a March 31 deadline for unlicensed medical cannabis dispensaries but are recommending allowing licensed facilities to continue to buy product from caregivers after that date. The caregiver extension is critical to ensuring enough medical marijuana supplies are on the market while the state transitions to a smaller, more restrictive market, experts said. Here’s the situation in Michigan:
- So far, the state’s MMJ licensing board has approved 121 permits under the new system, including 54 dispensaries.
- Roughly 50 unlicensed dispensaries are still operating, according to the Free Press.
- The licensing board has one more meeting scheduled before the March 31 deadline to consider additional license applications.
- State regulators say cease-and-desist letters will be served to unlicensed facilities in early April.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has called for the licensing board to be abolished April 30 and for a new agency to oversee licensing for Michigan’s MMJ market and nascent recreational market.
Medical Marijuana Smoking Ban Close to Being Repealed in Florida: State Sen. Jeff Brandes and state Rep. Ray Rodrigues confirmed Wednesday they’ve reached an accord on a proposal that would allow patients to purchase up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana for smoking every 35 days, ban smoking of medical marijuana in public places and allow terminally ill children to smoke the treatment, but only if they have a second opinion from a pediatrician.
Committee Advances Medical Marijuana Bill in Kentucky: A bill to legalize medical marijuana in Kentucky won initial committee approval Wednesday night after lawmakers heard emotional testimony from people battling chronic pain and debilitating medical conditions. The bill, which would make marijuana legal in the bluegrass state for medical purposes only, cleared the House Judiciary Committee on a 16-1 vote after a two-hour hearing. With only a few days left in this year’s legislative session, the measure faces tough odds of becoming law. The bill heads to the Republican-led House next.
Medical Marijuana Could be More Potent in Iowa Under Measure House Panel Approved: House Republicans are moving forward with a plan to expand Iowa’s medical marijuana program, in part by partially lifting a cap on the use of the chemical that makes recreational pot users high. A panel approved a bill that would remove a percentage cap on the amount of THC that can be in medical cannabis, the oil derived from the cannabis plant. Iowa law prohibits smoking medical marijuana. The issue over the THC cap — which is currently set at 3 percent — has been the ire of businesses in the state that manufacture and sell medical marijuana. Patients also say the limitation makes their medication less effective. If the measure becomes law, dispensaries would be permitted to give out 20 grams of THC to a patient or a patient’s caregiver in a 90-day period.
B.C.’s First Hit of Cannabis Tax Revenue Much Lower Than Expected: The provincial Ministry of Finance expects B.C.’s share of federal excise taxes on legal marijuana sales will be $68 million over the next three years, substantially less than the estimate of $200 million over three years that the province wrote into its 2018/19 budget. B.C. has received its first $1.3-million payment from the federal government as its 75% share of excise taxes for the month of October, the Ministry of Finance confirmed this week, which officials have extrapolated to expectations of $68 million over the next three years. The 2018/19 budget had anticipated $50 million for the first partial year of legalization (when it was still assumed legalization would take effect July 1), and $75 million per year for the following two years.
Illicit Cannabis Sales in Canada Decline After Legalization: Early sales of regulated adult-use cannabis chipped away at the illicit market in the final quarter of last year – the first period of legal recreational cannabis sales – with black market purchases declining 8% in the October-December period, according to fresh data from Statistics Canada. Illicit cannabis sales declined from 1.28 billion Canadian dollars ($960 million) in the July-September period to CA$1.17 billion in the October-December period, and accounted for 79% of the overall market for medical and recreational marijuana in the last quarter of 2018, an improvement from the previous quarter’s 90%, according to the data.
With CBD, Cannabis Wellness Market Goes Big: Sales of CBD are predicted to hit $22 billion in three years. Much of that projected growth is coming from CBD’s newly minted status as a health and wellness product, where it’s treated as a lifestyle oil that relieves pain, fights inflammation and provides consumers with a general sense of well-being, all without the “high” effects that can come with CBD’s sister extract, THC. Until recently, cannabis was looked at as medicinal- or adult-use. With CBD, a third cannabis category — wellness — is emerging. But it’s not entirely smooth sailing. The Food and Drug Administration has yet to issue new rules or guidelines regulating the sale of edible CBD products, leading some jurisdictions — including Maine, Ohio and New York City — to force vendors to pull CBD-infused edibles and beverages from shelves. Today, nearly 7% of American adults use CBD products. That number is expected to grow to 10% over the next several years.
California’s Water Wars & Cannabis: Will Small Growers Be the Losers?: Last month, local officials in Northern California took a major enforcement action against cannabis growers for their environmentally unsound water practices, in a case that crystalizes some of the dilemmas facing the Golden State’s newly legal cash-crop sector and its interactions with the water supply. The current dilemmas boil down to this: As the state punishes cannabis growers in the Emerald Triangle for environmental degradation, it is simultaneously pursuing an aqueduct project in the Central Valley that environmental groups claim will cause ecological harm of massive proportions. This project stands to benefit the “big ag” industry, which California’s newly legal cannabis companies are increasingly participating in. Cannabis — while still lagging behind rice, cotton and cattle — has a growing presence among Central Valley beneficiaries of the water diversion project. But it is the Valley’s sprawling agribusiness holdings now being converted to cannabis that stand to share in the mammoth water-diversion infrastructure run by the Department of Water Resources and federal Bureau of Reclamation. It may also appear ominous that these controversies come as Gov. Newsom has announced plans to send the state’s National Guard north to join in the crackdown on unlicensed cannabis growers.
Key Colorado House Panel Advances Bill That Would Spur Marijuana Capital Investment: A key Colorado House panel on Monday unanimously advanced a bill that would open up the state’s $1.5 billion-a-year recreational and medical marijuana industry to new sources of public and private capital. Current law prohibits publicly traded companies from holding a Colorado marijuana license and limits out-of-state owners to 15 people. A number of industry officials said greater investment flexibility is critical to attracting the capital necessary for growth and keeping Colorado’s cannabis industry competitive in terms of product development, employee benefits and more.
As of 2019, Legal Cannabis Has Created 211,000 Full-Time Jobs in America: There are now more than 211,000 cannabis jobs across the United States. More than 64,000 of those jobs were added in 2018. Legal cannabis is currently the greatest job-creation machine in America. The cannabis workforce increased 21% in 2017. It gained another 44% in 2018. We expect at least another 20% growth in jobs in 2019. That would represent a 110% growth in cannabis jobs in just three years.
The Cannabis Investor is a leading media outlet for Cannabis investment opportunities and breaking industry news.
Join our text message list:
USA: Text potstocks to 313131 to join
CDN: Text potstocks to 393939 to join
Join our email list here: http://eepurl.com/bUSa71
Follow The Cannabis Investor on Social Media