Cannabis News Briefs....
New Mexico's adult-use access will begin with the nation's lowest MJ taxes, and a wide-open start for hundreds of hopeful micro-business cultivators. On April 1st New Mexico does expect some RMJ shortages, but no likely huge price spikes, helped in part by the state's largest MMJ operator-- Ultra Health-- pledging a maximum price of $8.99 for all company grams. "Our business plans is based on access and affordability," said Marissa Novel, chief marketing officer for Ultra Health, who she says will reach out to partner with many new growers. This week her company wrote regulators and the insurance industry asking they consider placing MMJ medical reimbursement (for PTSD, autism and other mental health issues) on all patient policies. New Mexico's courts have already allowed the use of MMJ for worker's compensation claims, and expect additional court action around MMJ rights. In fact, for all 30 stores across the state, Novel expects bringing the April 1st start with plenty of MMJ inventory, and a likely shortage of infused and concentrate products.
Across the internet--in in some local ads in states like Florida, Texas and Illinois-- purveyors of delta-8/delta-10/HHC low-THC sales appeals are continuously referring to their products as "hemp-derived." Since most of these products are the synthetic outcome of re-processing CBD, the U.S. Hemp Authority is calling for an end to the false consumer messaging. USHR says the D-8 marketing claims are confusing Congress about needed FDA and USDA oversight, but have "have also spurred a number of state legislative and regulatory actions that while well intended, have been drafted so broadly as to threaten the provision of safe and healthy non- intoxicating products, like hemp-derived CBD." Many states wanting to control the growth of delta-8 have written newsbill to accept products which don't exceed "total THC" of any derivation beyond .03%, on a dry-weight basis. USHR also hopes to see action on one or more House bills which would push the FDA into setting regulatory standards for CBD. "Oregon, Kentucky, Arizona, Colorado, Alabama, Hawaii, Maryland, and likely others are proposing laws and/or regulations that are intended to crack down on intoxicating compounds, but could pose dangers to non-intoxicating hemp CBD" said USHR general counsel Jonathan Miller.
Link-0f-the-Week -- SAM, Smart Alternatives to Marijuana, has chalked up a successful year of pushing back against cannabis liberalization, and in its annual report it particularly cited the passage of Colorado's anti-MMJ bill 1317 a a major victory. They write "The 117th Congress rejected the SAFE Banking Act, STATES Act, MORE Act, and every other attempt by Big Marijuana. We advanced amendments to encourage states to fund efforts to reduce stoned driving and expand scientific research on marijuana." SAM holds its annual "Stop Cannabis" gathering in Washington on April 22. Find the full report here: https://learnaboutsam.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/2021-Annual-Report-FINAL-3.pdf
State News: The Virginia state senate (still controlled by Dems) advanced a new bill which seeks to push ahead with last year's legislative action for legalized MJ. The Sen Adam Ebbin(D-Alexandria) sponsored bill would allow the start of RMJ sales as early as Sept., 2022(rather than the 2024 start anticipated in last year's measure), and initially only allow the four incumbent MMJ providers (Green Thumb, JUSHI, Columbia Care and Green Leaf Medical) to begin RMJ sales. The measure will move to the Virginia Assembly, where the GOP-controlled chamber is likely to write its own, less friendly, legal cannabis bill. ---California reportedtotal tax revenue at $308Mil. for 2021, and more than $3.44Bil in excise, sales and cultivation taxes since the start of regulated sales in Jan., 2018.
Arizona saw a record start to its RMJ sales in 2021. With about 134 stores licensed, consumers purchased MMJ purchases of $798Mil. and RMJ sales of $594, totaling $1.352Bil for the full year. Excise taxes paid to the state exceeded $651Mil., with 47% of sales going to flower, and 24% to vaping options. -- For the full year in Ohio, MMJ sales grew to $381Mil., up 72% from 2020's total sales.
In a rare boost to hemp sector farmers, New York has passed a bill allowing them the option to jumpstart the growth of cannabis in licenses good till July 2024. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed S8084-A this week authorizing state-licensed hemp growers to obtain temporary licenses to commercially cultivate and process cannabis for the state’s forthcoming adult-use market. Eligible applicants must possess a valid industrial hemp grower authorization from the Department of Agriculture and Markets as of December 31, 2021, be in good standing, and have grown and harvested hemp for at least two of the last four years. The state is still writing the larger retail and processing rules to establish regulated sales, but the bill's intent was to allow more time for growers to be ready for retail demand, which now looks to be coming in early 2023.
Cannabis employment is growing past 400,000 across the country. Leafley produced its annual employee report noting that 428,059 full-time equivalent jobs supported by legal cannabis as of January 2022. The new figure is a 33% increased over 2020, when the "essential" MJ business created an average of 280 new jobs per day.