Business is Booming: The Cannabis Job Market is Heating Up: North America sits at a point of idle industry and floating job growth, and in many cases, this blanket statement could hold true, however in the Marijuana industry, people may be laughing and smoking all the way to the bank. According to a recent report, Cannabis manufacturers and distributors on both the recreational and medical sides, are behind massive amounts of job creation. In 2018 alone we saw 64,389 new jobs created, which brings the North American Cannabis job total to well over 300,000, according to Leafly’s report with Whitney Economics.
The United States economy is still churning away, it created 2.7 million new jobs in 2018. This doesn’t include Cannabis related positions because at the federal level it is still considered a narcotic, therefore those jobs are not currently being tallied. “Amid the roiling debate over American jobs, the legal Cannabis industry remains a substantial and unrecognized engine of grassroots job creation,” the report’s author wrote. “In 2019, America’s Cannabis industry is one of the nation’s greatest economic success stories. That success deserves to be recognized and celebrated.”
Medical Cannabis 2019 Sales & Inventory Update: Medical Cannabis sales have been steadily rising in Canada after the recent legalization of adult use Cannabis. Canada has followed a very common trend that we’ve observed happening in many U.S states after they ended their own statewide prohibitions. Volumes of Medical Marijuana oils swelled to nearly 5,000kg in January, compared to 4,400kg in October 2018. Overall patient growth remains a mystery, as we wait for Health Canada to update the numbers. Dried Medical Cannabis flower sales now hover around 1,800kg, building a strong monthly average.
Recreational sale of dried flower is now legal but it may be cannibalizing into medical sales as the only way to access authorized medically prescribed Cannabis is through a practitioner then a licensed producer. Some industry analysts are predicting medical sales to decline as the adult use market grows, but this prediction could be years away from fruition.
6 Things People Don’t Know About the Farm Bill and CBD Legalization: The Church is not yet Separated from the State – This is an expression used to describe the situation between THC and CBD drug classifications in Canada. In many of the U.S states they are considered 2 completely different substances, and therefore the laws are being made to vary, but in Canada, they are still considered one and the same. Many argue that since CBD has no psychoactive effects and would be considered more of a vitamin in nature, it’s only right we see the two reclassified in the future. For example, someone taking CBD would more likely to be able to operate a vehicle or machinery, than someone high on THC and impaired. But for now, the church and state remain one, meaning all rules that apply for THC apply for CBD.
All Manufacturers of CBD Products Must Open Entirely New Factories – This is a big shocker. In Canada, you have to open an entirely new factory so there is absolutely no risk of contamination. Many are outraged because as manufacturers this involves an entirely new cost for an entirely new product line that they haven’t sold a single product for yet. For example, this means if you currently manufacture chocolate, and now want to move into THC or CBD chocolate you need completely new facilities to process the food, even if your current facilities are risk-free and has a pristine track record of never contaminating food in your multiple years of business.
Trump Budget Proposes Loosening DC Marijuana Legalization Restrictions: The House and Senate Appropriations Committees will soon begin crafting their own spending bills for FY20, and legalization advocates expect that the new House Democratic majority will propose removing all restrictions on D.C.’s ability to spend its own money on cannabis policy changes and implementation. Trump’s new budget request also proposes cutting funding for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy—commonly referred to as the drug czar’s office—by more than 93 percent by moving its key projects, the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas and Drug-Free Communities programs, to the Department of Justice and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, respectively. Trump’s FY2019 request made a similar request, but it was rejected by Congress. The president’s new budget document also proposes continuing a congressionally approved provision that prevents the federal government from interfering with state industrial hemp research programs. But it does not contain a current rider that protects state medical cannabis laws from Justice Department interference.
Ohio Medical Marijuana Sales Start Strong, but not All Patients are Buying: Ohio’s medical cannabis sales are off to a healthy start, garnering $1.85 million in under two months, but high prices and limited access to dispensaries have restricted patient participation. Since sales began Jan. 16, the state’s medical marijuana dispensaries have averaged $248,000 in weekly sales – a strong launch to a market estimated to net $300 million to $500 million annually when mature – but only 28% of registered patients have visited a dispensary. Of the 19,395 who have signed up since the registry opened Dec. 3, only 5,465 unique patients have made a medical marijuana purchase. This may be related to sales starting with only four dispensaries. Although nine dispensaries are now open, limited geographic distribution persists. In addition, the average price in Ohio has hovered at $480 per ounce – substantially higher than per-ounce medical prices in bordering Michigan.
New Mexico Adult-Use Cannabis Bill Fails; Gov Wants to Revive in 2020: New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is looking to put recreational marijuana legalization back on the agenda for the next legislative session after a bipartisan bill stalled without a Senate vote as the session ended Saturday. Lujan Grisham said that next year’s limited 30-day legislative session will include marijuana reform proposals. The first-term Democrat complimented sponsors of the failed adult-use bill this year that called for a mostly government-run retail structure and subsidized medical cannabis for poor patients.
Florida Ends Ban on Smokable Cannabis, Opening Door to Tens of Millions in New Sales: Florida’s dozen or so active medical marijuana businesses are expected to see tens of millions of dollars in additional sales by this summer – thanks to a new law that repeals a controversial ban on smokable products. Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis made it official Monday when he signed a bill passed by lawmakers last week. The law takes effect immediately, but regulators must iron out the details. Flower sales are expected to start by no later than this summer.
New Jersey Lawmakers Approve Marijuana Legalization Bill: New Jersey Assembly and Senate committees voted in favor of companion bills that would legalize marijuana and provide for the expungement of prior cannabis convictions on Monday. The Assembly Appropriations Committee voted 6-1, with two abstentions, to advance the bill, which was amended at the last minute to broaden expungement provisions and revise the tax structure of a legal cannabis system. The Senate Judiciary Committee also approved its version of the legalization legislation in a 7-4 vote, with one abstention. The Assembly and Senate committees also approved separate companion bills to revise requirements to qualify for medical cannabis in the state. And another piece of legislation revising the procedure for expunging various criminal records also passed both committees. The governor also included legalization revenue in his budget proposal earlier this month, projecting $60 million in resulting tax monies for the 2020 fiscal year.
Pennsylvania Senators Release Details On Marijuana Legalization Bill: Details of a soon-to-be introduced bill that would legalize marijuana in Pennsylvania were released.
- The legislation places an emphasis on not only legalizing cannabis for adult use but also implementing a variety of social equity and small business-focused provisions.
- The state’s medical cannabis seed-to-sale tracking system would be eliminated, home delivery and public consumption sites would be permitted and universities would be allowed to grow and process cannabis as part of classes on the marijuana industry.
- Home cultivation of up to six cannabis plants per household would also be allowed.
- While the tax rate for retail marijuana sales is not specified in the outline, and the formal legislative language has not yet been filed, the goal will be to set a rate that “balances the need to undermine any illegal market and the needs to both pay for regulation of the industry and invest in those harmed by prohibition.” Most of the revenue from those taxes will go toward funding public education programs.
- There wouldn’t be a cap on the number of marijuana business licenses that could be approved. Micro licenses for cannabis cultivation would be available in a three-tier system, which is meant to help people from communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the drug war participate in the legal industry.
The legislation would create a “statewide cannabis business incubator that provides free training to Pennsylvanians who want to learn how to start and run a cannabis business.” People who’ve been harmed by prohibition and complete the incubator program would also have access to state grants and low-interest capital loans.
Former House Speaker Boehner Tells Congress to ‘Get Out of the Way’ of Cannabis Reform: Former Republican House Speaker and one-time cannabis prohibitionist John Boehner told crowds gathered at South by Southwest that it’s time for the federal government to catch up with public opinions on cannabis reform. As the legal cannabis industry continues to spread across the country, the feds have an obligation to support the industry’s growth, according to Boehner. “It’s clear this market is going to expand. And as it does, lawmakers in Washington have to look up and realize that the federal government is way out of step,” Boehner told CNBC. Boehner told the crowd during his talk that he believes Congress will take a big step toward marijuana reform by passing the STATES Act. If successful, the bill would prevent the federal government from prosecuting states that have legalized cannabis within their borders.
Oklahoma Governor Signs Medical Marijuana Rules into law: The Republican on Thursday signed a measure known as the “unity bill” because it’s supported by various factions of the cannabis industry. The new law sets up guidelines for inventory testing and tracking, advertising, packaging and labeling, among other things. It also allows employers to fire medical marijuana users in certain “safety-sensitive jobs” who test positive for cannabis use. Additional details:
- Products will be tested for pesticides, THC, terpenoid potency and heavy metals.
- Producers will be prohibited from using images on packaging other than their business name logos and product images. Packaging must include a universal THC symbol, the level of THC and potency and a statement that the product was tested for contaminants.
- The state will use a seed-to-sale tracking system that will track batch numbers, product types, sales details and other inventory information.
New Mexico Lawmakers Send Marijuana Decriminalization Bill To Governor: With just hours left in the legislative session, lawmakers gave final approval to bill to remove criminal penalties for cannabis possession early on Saturday morning. The decriminalization proposal, sponsored by Joseph Cervantes (D), would decrease penalties for possession of up to half an ounce of cannabis to a $50 fine, treated as a penalty assessment misdemeanor without the threat of jail time.
Global Cannabis Partnership Welcomes Five New Members The Global Cannabis Partnership (GCP) welcomes Canndescent, Cronos Group, MNP LLP, ONE Cannabis Group and Rubicon Organics Inc. With a mandate to establish social responsibility standards for the cannabis industry worldwide, membership is open to government agencies, licensed producers, national associations, industry partners and community groups who play a role in the cannabis industry supply chain. The new five Members expand GCP’s total membership number to 37. The Partnership is working to create international standards for the safe and responsible production, distribution and consumption of legal cannabis.
Alaska Legalizes Social Cannabis Consumption Inside Specialty Pot Shops:On Wednesday, Lt. Governor Kevin Meyer signed off on a plan to legalize social cannabis consumption at licensed dispensaries across the state — the first such regulation in America’s growing legal weed landscape. According to the Juneau Empire, the new social use regulations will allow dispensaries to seek out an additional license to turn an adjacent space into a cannabis lounge. The new social consumption rules will go into effect across Alaska on April 11th, but industry experts predict a significant licensing window that could delay the process until this summer at the earliest.
NJ Adult-Use Cannabis Bill Heads to Final Vote After Key Committee Oks: New Jersey took another major step Monday toward legalizing recreational marijuana when Senate and Assembly committees approved an identical measure and sent it to the full Legislature for a vote, possibly as soon as March 25. A bill reached a similar stage late last year in New Jersey but stalled mainly over a disagreement between Gov. Phil Murphy and key legislative leaders over how marijuana should be taxed. Last week, Murphy, a Democrat, and the legislative leaders formally announced an agreement to impose a state excise tax of $42 an ounce on marijuana products. It’s unclear whether enough support exists in the Democratic-controlled Legislature to pass the latest version.
First Medical Cannabis Clinic in United Kingdom Opens: Britain’s first dedicated medical marijuana clinic opened in Manchester, setting the groundwork for wider use of MMJ in the country and sparking criticism from some quarters of the medical community. More clinics are expected to open in London and Birmingham later this spring, according to a news release. A first consultation with a specialist in the clinic will cost £250 ($327). Self-referred patients will need a previous appointment with a general practitioner.
Israel’s Prime Minister Contemplates Adult-Use Marijuana Legalization: Three weeks before the country goes to the polls, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would weigh legalizing cannabis if his party wins another term, The Jerusalem Post reported. A competitor to Netanyahu’s party on the right – the libertarian Zehut party – has seen its stock rise because of its pro-cannabis position. Possession of adult-use cannabis was decriminalized in Israel last year.
Edibles Legalization Fraught with Hurdles, Lack of Clarity, Companies Say: Canadians can legally purchase cannabis-infused goods and vapes on Oct. 17, 2019. However, there are numerous hoops to jump through before edibles can grace store shelves. The new cannabis regulations require a specific research licence for each specific project. As of March 11, 36 research licences have been issued under the Cannabis regulations and another 122 applications are at various stages of the review process, though not all of them are specific to palatability testing. The proposed regulations require companies who are already making non-cannabis infused goods to establish a separate manufacturing facility for edibles. In addition, once the regulations are published and take effect, companies must amend their processing license to add the edibles class before they begin manufacturing products for sale. Getting the green light for edibles could take anywhere from three to nine months, a process that may involve a couple of test batches of product and final facility inspection.
Province Unlikely to Meet Promise of 25 Cannabis Shops by April 1, Analysis Shows: Ontario is unlikely to meet its target of having 25 privately owned cannabis shops open by April 1. Four of the lottery winners who won the right to apply for the coveted first wave of licences haven’t even announced their locations yet. For those four, from Toronto and the GTA, the deadline looks impossible. The public is allowed 15 days to comment after locations are posted. Lottery winners have five days to reply to those comments. That’s a total of 20 days, and as of Thursday, there were only 17 days remaining until April 1. For another five stores, the public comment period ends between March 19 and March 27, which is tight timing. As it stands now, nine of the 21 lottery winners that have announced their locations are affiliated with pot-shop chains under these brand names: Spiritleaf, Canna Cabana, Choom Cannabis, Nova Cannabis, Fire & Flower, Tweed and Hobo.
Medical Cannabis Sales Rise in Canada After Adult-Use Legalization: The volume of medical cannabis oil sold in Canada’s regulated market rose to nearly 5,000 kilograms (11,023 pounds) in January compared with the 4,400 kilograms shipped to patients in October 2018. Sales of dried medical marijuana in Canada dropped slightly in January to 1,770 kilograms compared with October’s 1,890 kilograms. In states such as Nevada and Oregon, the number of medical cannabis patients fell in the immediate months after adult-use legalization. Reasons for the decline post-legalization vary depending on the market, but reasons cited include high costs for medical marijuana cards and ease of access to the recreational market.
Canada’s Dried Cannabis Supply Builds as Adult-Use Sales Decline. In January, 5,330 kilograms of dried cannabis was sold through regulated channels across the country, down 4.5% from December 2018. Inventories of “finished” dried cannabis held by federal license holders, wholesalers and retailers rose 4.5% to 19,500 kilograms. Health Canada defines finished inventory as cannabis held in stock that is ready for sale. That means inventory of dried cannabis that’s ready for sale outpaced sales by a ratio of about 4:1 – a figure that contradicts the claim by most provincial regulators that the regulated market has a shortage of cannabis. Industry experts say, however, that the shortage seen in the regulated market is not necessarily reflective of the totality of cannabis available for sale, but in the particular products, consumers want to buy.
Canada Warns Marijuana Companies Over ‘Age Gating,’ Online Promotions: Canada’s cannabis regulator issued a lengthy warning to license holders concerning possible noncompliant promotional activities since the Cannabis Act went into force last fall. Health Canada noted that some cannabis license holders are promoting their goods or services on social media sites and other websites without taking steps to ensure the promotion cannot be accessed by a young person. The health department also dedicated a section of the letter to the common – and ineffective – practice of “age-gating” or the self-confirmation of age by users. It is unclear if Health Canada considers self-confirmation of age in itself an insufficient means to ensure youth cannot access promotional content.
Zimbabwe Approves First License for Private Cannabis Company: A Zimbabwe company says it received approval for its cannabis license, which will make it the first in the country to be permitted to commercially produce medical marijuana nearly a year after the country legalized cultivation for medicinal and scientific purposes. Precision Cannabis Therapeutics Zimbabwe was approved for the license March 7, pending payment of a hefty $46,000 fee.
Daily or High-Potency Cannabis Increases Risk of Psychotic Disorder, Study Finds: According to new research, people who use cannabis daily, as well as those who use high-potency weed, maybe three times more likely to develop psychotic disorders than never-users. Published Tuesday in the journal the Lancet Psychiatry, the new evidence is consistent with previous experiments that suggest heavy use and high THC concentration cannabis — a 10% concentration of THC (the psychoactive substance within cannabis) or higher — can be harmful to mental health. Dr. Marta DiForti, lead author and a clinician scientist at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London, said “We are talking about people who meet diagnostic criteria [and] come to the attention of mental health services to receive treatment for psychosis. So they have to have symptoms of psychosis across the spectrum — so hallucination, delusion — that have lasted at least for a week.” They found 901 patients with a first-time episode of psychosis over a five-year period and compared them to 1,237 matched non-patients. Overall, people who used marijuana on a daily basis were three times more likely to have a first episode psychosis compared with people who never used weed, the researchers estimated. And this increased to five times more likely for those who daily used high-potency cannabis. “High-potency cannabis contributes to the incidence of psychotic disorder but doesn’t explain it completely,” explained Di Forti, noting that only some users develop a psychotic disorder and the reasons why not all cannabis users are equally susceptible is unclear.
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