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Czech medical cannabis sales surge, but market remains small

Czech medical cannabis sales surge, but market remains small

czech medical marijuana sales surge but industry remains small

The Czech market for medical cannabis flower quadrupled last year compared to 2019, according to data published by the State Agency for Medical Cannabis.

However, the market remains very small.

In 2020, roughly 68 kilograms (150 pounds) of medical cannabis flower was sold to patients in Czech pharmacies, compared with 17 kilograms the year before, the data shows.

Expectations that the market would see a tremendous boost after medical cannabis was included in the country’s public health insurance in early 2020 have so far failed to materialize.

Experts say that is partly because insurance coverage is only one of many factors guiding the market’s development.

As Marijuana Business Daily previously reported, bureaucratic hurdles and limited participation in the medical marijuana program by doctors and pharmacies represent challenges that were not resolved with the introduction of the health insurance-coverage scheme.

Despite that, the market is growing with improved access.

October and November saw record sales of medical cannabis, with about 7 kilograms sold each month.

The number of unique patients, which was below 500 at the end of 2019, doubled to 1,103 in December 2020.

The number of doctors prescribing cannabis products also increased.

In December 2019, 78 doctors prescribed cannabis. That number grew to 123 by December 2020.

Since the beginning of last year, Czech patients have been entitled to insurance coverage on 90% of the retail price for 30 grams of flower per month for medical use, regardless of THC content.

In exceptional cases, doctors may authorize quantities exceeding the monthly limit of 30 grams for reimbursement, up to a maximum of 180 grams per month.

In practice, however, patients received roughly 6 grams per month on average during the final months of 2020.

Almost 80% of the cannabis prescriptions last year were to treat chronic pain.

Elkoplast Slušovice remains the only domestic producer, with the rest of the supply coming from Canadian producers Aurora Cannabis and Canopy Growth.

Amsterdam doubles down on plans to restrict tourist access to cannabis coffee shops

Amsterdam doubles down on plans to restrict tourist access to cannabis coffee shops

Amsterdam likely to restrict tourist from coffee shop access in the future.
When international tourists finally return to the canal-lined historic streets of Amsterdam, one of the city’s main travel attractions might be off limits. Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema has proposed a new policy that would ban foreign visitors from accessing the city’s coffee shops.
 
 
There are 166 cannabis coffee shops in Amsterdam, accounting for almost 30% of the Netherlands’ coffee shops.
In a letter to councilors on January 8, Halsema proposed introducing the “resident criterion” — a policy that permits only locals to use coffee shops — with the goal of making tourism in the city more manageable and to control the coffee shop supply chain. Halsema will discuss the measures with Amsterdam’s city council later this month.
 
 
 
In line with Covid-19 lockdown measures, nonessential shops, including coffee shops, are currently closed in Amsterdam, although coffee shops are able to do takeout and delivery.
 
 
 
The city’s website currently advises tourists not to travel to the city unless necessary, but Halsema is looking ahead to how Amsterdam might function after the Covid threat subsides.

Cannabis in the Netherlands

Different municipalities in the Netherlands have different coffee shop rules, and discussions on barring everyone except Dutch residents are not new. This conversation became heated back in 2011 and 2012, with Amsterdam fighting back against the proposed introduction of a residents-only rule across the Netherlands’ coffee shops.
 
 
 
 
Today, this rule still exists in Maastricht, in the south of the country. To add to the slightly confusing setup, buying cannabis from a coffee shop is legal in the Netherlands, but producing cannabis remains illegal.
Back in July 2019, Halsema wrote to councilors saying the city’s coffee shops can put “the quality of life in the city center under pressure.”
 
 
This preempted an August 2019 survey which questioned 1,100 international visitors between the ages of 18 and 35 who were visiting Amsterdam’s Red Light District, an area of the city that’s been the focus of much of Amsterdam’s most recent tourism regulations.
 
 
In this survey, referenced in Halsema’s most recent correspondence, over half of those surveyed said they chose to visit the Dutch capital because they wanted to experience a cannabis cafe.
 
 
The results were that 34% indicated they’d come to Amsterdam less often if they weren’t able to visit coffee shops, and 11% said they wouldn’t come at all.
12 Cannabis Industry Predictions for 2021

12 Cannabis Industry Predictions for 2021

Cannabis industry predictions for 2021

2020 was a crazy year in more ways than one.

Beside the obvious factor that impacted everybody’s lives for the last 10 months, cannabis has also seen some huge changes. From industry trends to overall growth, 2020 was the most progressive and profitable year for the industry so far.

There were still some lows however, like the MORE Act being passed in the House but stalled indefinitely in the Senate. California has had its fair share of issues with their legal market as well due to bad regulation and local government mishandling.

But we aren’t here to look back on the bad, but to look forward to the future of the industry and everything that may bring. Here are 12 predictions for the cannabis industry in 2021.

1. Cannabis consumption increases

This is probably the most obvious to predict. As more states legalize medical and recreational cannabis or decriminalize the plant, consumption will rise as people gain more safe and legal access to quality cannabis. This includes all forms of cannabis; concentrates, edibles, topicals and others.

2. We still won’t see federal legalization

Considering that the senate currently won’t even vote on a bill that would decriminalize cannabis on the federal level, it is very unlikely that we will see full scale legalization on the federal level in 2021. There’s a chance that we see more legislation passed through the House that will give cannabis businesses better access to banking.

However this will likely also be stalled in the Senate. In short, as long as Mitch McConnell is the Majority Leader of the Senate, don’t expect any sort of federal progress when it comes to cannabis.

3. Rise in popularity of minor cannabinoids in hemp

Cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD, has seen a massive increase in popularity and use in 2020. Through marketing and education efforts, people have learned of the benefits of CBD and how it is entirely different from THC. This has led to more curiosity about the wide variety of other cannabinoids in hemp and cannabis. CBN and CBG have already begun breaking into the forefront of cannabinoid research with more on the way in 2021.

We’ll see new mixed cannabinoid products that advertise different experiences for the consumer start to become much more popular.

4. Extraction and dosing technology increases

Cannabis extracts and concentrates continue to grow in popularity, with rosin taking over the scene in 2020 as the cleanest and tastiest dabs. 2021 will be no different as the technology for creating extracts advances even more. Solventless extracts will likely remain the most popular for health-conscious and connoisseur consumers, while vape cartridges and pens will stay popular for the average consumer.

It will also become easier to understand the dosing of concentrates, especially with cartridges and dabs. There is currently no widely known dosage for either, just general suggestions from the local budtender or industry blogger.

5. Increased presence of national cannabis industry brands

We’ve seen the rise in popular brands like Cookies and Runtz from California’s recreational market to Maryland’s medical market, and that trend is bound to continue. With the success of these brands, others will try to replicate their marketing style to also become popular nationally.

Cookies and Runtz are likely just more “flavors of the month”, and new products will likely take their place in 2021.

6. US stock market for cannabis

Investors in the US have seen that cannabis is essential and pandemic proof. With the huge boost to industry revenue in 2020, investors will be looking for more ways to invest in the United States cannabis industry. While Canada’s cannabis industry saw much less success than the US in 2020, their model for investing in cannabis stocks could be used a template to implement a similar system in the US.

With so many ancillary (non-plant touching) businesses in the industry and expansion growing every year, there may soon be an investment market for companies that work with the cannabis industry but don’t actually process or touch the plant.

7. Ancillary cannabis business transactions increase

Speaking of ancillary cannabis businesses, transactions for these companies are going to increase in 2021. Equipment supply stores, consulting and marketing firms focused in the cannabis space all will see more sales as more people get into the industry across the country driving a need for more of these businesses.

8. Oklahoma and Mississippi continue to expand

Oklahoma was one of the highest grossing states in terms of cannabis revenue despite being medical only in one of the most red states in the nation. Following their model, Mississippi will likely follow the same path as long as demand is the same.

Oklahoma will continue to hone its market and weed out cheap producers with low quality product that took advantage of an infant market with consumers lacking necessary education to choose better products. We will see a few producers rise to the top in 2021 and become available across the state.

9. Michigan explodes with huge operations

Michigan had a slow start after they legalized recreational cannabis in 2018, however sales have been rising consistently since dispensaries began opening and selling cannabis in late 2019 and through 2020. With Detroit announcing that it will be handing out licenses beginning Summer 2021, we are going to see a massive increase in grow operations and dispensaries in the area.

As the most densely populated area in the state, Detroit is going to launch Michigan into the next phase of its legal industry by the end of 2021.

10. Supply chain for hydroponic and grow industry becomes more limited

Due to shipping complications that arose in 2020 from China, 2021 is likely to be a rough year for the grow industry supply chain. While more people will be growing cannabis than ever before, the supply of the products they need to do it are going to be more limited than ever before as well.

Inevitably the low supply and high demand will lead to increased prices and decreased availability of many fertilizers, lights and media.

11. The exotics hype trend continues

The community of connoisseur cannabis consumers has driven a niche market of exotic and exclusive cannabis strains driven by media marketing campaigns and hype. This trend will continue in 2021 with brands we’ve already mentioned like Cookies and Runtz leading the way.

In states where cannabis is recreational or medical but Cookies and Runtz don’t operate, new breeders will rise with exclusive strains that you can only get from them at a specific dispensary on a specific drop date, increasing hype and demand. These strains will remain the most expensive option on the shelf in terms of flower.

12. More states will legalize cannabis

Following the trend of the last few years, more states are going to legalize cannabis recreationally or medically in 2021. New York is a state a lot are looking toward to make a move in the new year since their neighbor New Jersey approved a legalization ballot in November. With no competing industry, New York is bound to lose a lot of tax dollars to New Jersey’s legal cannabis over the border.

Other states like Pennsylvania and Virginia have had their governors voice support for a recreational cannabis industry more than once in 2020. While these states may have a legalization vote in 2021 it’s unlikely that either will pass in the near future. Other states to follow in 2021 are Connecticut and New Mexico.

Mexico puts legalization of marijuana on hold

Mexico puts legalization of marijuana on hold

Mexico cannabis legalization gets delayed until 2021

Mexican president says delay is matter of “form, not substance” and expects approval in early 2021

The Chamber of Deputies last week put the brakes on the legalization of marijuana in Mexico. However, that country’s president on Tuesday said he expects approval in early 2021 of legislation decriminalizing possession and consumption of small amounts of marijuana.

“They asked the (Mexican) Supreme Court for an extension because the two chambers could not come to an agreement and they were running out of time to make revisions. But it’s an issue of form, not substance. I believe this will be resolved” in the next session, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said in his daily news conference.

The Mexican Senate last month approved a landmark bill decriminalizing the possession of up to 28 grams (1 ounce) of the drug, allowing individuals to grow up to six plants and licensing production and sales. It also created a commission within the Health Department to regulate the cannabis law.

The Chamber of Deputies was under a Dec. 15 Mexican Supreme Court deadline to approve the law, but deputies asked for and got an extension through the end of April. The deputies are expected to pick up the discussion in early February.

​“There is no opposition to what the Senate authorized regarding the medicinal and limited use of marijuana. It’s just a matter of errors, lack of precision about the amounts and other contradictions in the law itself, and that’s what will be resolved,” Lopez Obrador said.

If that happens, Mexico would be the second country in Latin America – after Uruguay – to decriminalize recreational use of small amounts of marijuana.

The premise might seem odd in a nation plagued by drug cartel violence and with rising rates of addiction in northern border cities. But experts say it reflects a change of attitude in Mexican collective thought and won’t necessarily fuel more violence or addictions.

Are You Ready for Your First Dab?

Are You Ready for Your First Dab?

What to consider before taking your first dab.

Shatter, wax, crumble, high terpene full spectrum, extractions and concentrates.

These are all different names and varieties of the same common-place term we’ve all heard way too many times thanks to social media; dabs.

So, let’s dive into the hottest product in the cannabis industry since cannabis and what to expect from your first dab.

What is a dab?

Simply put, a dab is a concentrated form of THC that is extracted from cannabis flower using some type of solvent, such as butane or CO2, as well as newer methods that don’t involve solvents like rosin and ice-water hash. There are even distillate options that isolate just THC while removing other cannabinoids and terpenes to create a more potent product. 

Concentrates are also consumed in a different, much more eccentric manner than simply lighting up a bong. A blow torch is used to heat up a metal, glass or ceramic element that takes the place of a normal bowl-piece that would be on a bong, called the nail. The bong that is used for dabs is commonly called an oil rig or just a rig. The concentrate is then dropped or “dabbed” into the nail using a “dabber” or narrow pointed tool with the concentrate on the tip. 

The high heat of the nail from the blow torch instantly evaporates or at lower temperature melts down the concentrates, which is then inhaled like a normal hit from a bong. The difference between a dab and a bong hit however, is blatant.

What’s the Difference?

Compared to dry flower, concentrates are much more potent, with certain concentrates surpassing 80% or even 90% THC, whereas the most potent flower rarely passes 30%. Suffice to say taking one dab compared to one puff from a pipe will yield much different, and typically much more intense results.

Imagine if there was a tiny little speck of cannabis about the size of a bread crumb, and consuming that one crumb did more than an entire bowl-pack. That is what a dab is in comparison to dry flower.

Whereas a few puffs from a pipe may lead to a nice effect that last a couple hours, a dab will provide stronger effects that may not last as long.

Additionally, the taste of concentrates in comparison to dry flower is much cleaner and smoother, though I promise it won’t seem that smooth after you exhale. Unless you’re a pro already in which case this whole article is irrelevant.

What’s it Like?

Now it’s story time. My first dab experience was intense, scary, relaxing, and exhilarating all at the same time. It wasn’t necessarily what happened to me, but what happened to the friend I was with, we’ll call him Todd. The two of us were very different in our enjoyment of cannabis, mine being much more prevalent than his, his being very little outside of special occasions.

While hanging out at Todd’s place, another friend from down the block came by with some wax, we’ll call him Jack. This was back in the early days when concentrates first started hitting the market, so I had very little info about them and Todd was clueless. I had smoked with Todd maybe one other time prior to this, and it was pretty tough to convince him then.

I managed to convince Jack to take a dab with me so I wouldn’t be alone taking one for my first time. I was first to take my dab and was instantly struck with awe and confusion upon seeing how it worked. Jack turns on a small blow torch and begins to heat up the nail while I stare like a caveman that just discovered fire.

Jack hands me the dabber with the wax on the tip, at which point I said, “That’s it?”, thinking there was no way a tiny little speck could actually be that effective.

“Trust me,” Jack replied. “This will be plenty.”

I take the dabber as Jack hands me the rig with the red hot nail on top. After waiting about 30 seconds, I rub the dabber inside the nail as smoke billows from within. I inhale and pull the hit in through a central hole in the middle of the nail. The taste was like an exemplified cannabis flavor without the harshness of plant matter tasted in dry cannabis, followed by an instantaneous attempt by my body to expel my lungs.

Imagine taking the biggest bong rip of your life, only to cough your brains out for minutes afterward. Compared to the coughing I endured from my first dab, that bong rip is nothing. I coughed my brains out for five minutes, easy. Todd followed up with what looked like a slightly bigger dab than mine, which was the first sign that things were about to take a dark turn.

Todd smoked once a month tops, and had even less of a clue about dabs than me. With the knowledge that he is just supposed to pull as hard as he would from a bong, Todd ripped the dab faster and harder than anybody I’d ever seen. By the will of some greater power he managed to hold it in for a few seconds before exhaling a massive cloud.

Now, I thought my coughing fit was bad, but Todd made me look like a champion once he started. Imagine watching a sitcom on TV, but instead of a laugh track it’s a cough track. That’s what it was like after Todd took his dab. Non-stop coughing ensued as his face turned bright red. What followed is the reason you should always do your research before trying something new.

Todd went into the bathroom after he’d been coughing for probably 10 minutes, and comes out a few minutes later and says in-between coughs, “Am I not supposed to be able to breathe?”, to which everybody replies a resounding “No”. Panic ensues (mainly from Todd), while everybody else giggles quietly knowing he couldn’t actually die from a dab. We manage to calm him down enough as his coughing starts to fade, which gives way to a sedated horse effect.

Now at this point I was feeling terrific. The effects of a dab compared to dry flower are much more noticeable immediately after, which fades into a lighter feeling high that isn’t as cumbersome as dry flower. It’s like getting all the great effects of a bong rip without the cloudiness that sometimes comes along with it.

Todd on the other hand, was on a whole different level. He had forgotten how to use his limbs, and at this point was under a blanket on the couch cuddled up to another guy, who was giving him water through a straw because he couldn’t move his arms to take the cup. This brings us to the conclusion of this wild first dab, and the reality is that it isn’t nearly as crazy or extreme as it’s been made out to be.

It’s all about the individual. Todd and I’s tolerances were much different and so we both handled the dab in very different ways, and I was much better suited to tolerate the extreme difference in affect due to my experience.

Your First Dab

Now you know what a dab is, what makes it different from normal cannabis, and an anecdotal story that shares both sides of the experience. When it comes to your first dab I cannot stress enough, always start small. Dabs are already very small, so if it looks too small to you, it’s probably just the right size to start with. 

Be aware that you are consuming a much more potent form of cannabis and THC, and you will notice the difference instantly. Due to the potency, you can also quickly build a tolerance, and going from dabbing all the time back to normal smoking might be less rewarding than before you started taking dabs as it won’t provide the same strong effects.

Lastly, just have fun!

Dabs are always getting better with new methods of extraction coming about all the time, and your local dispensary will always have a bunch of options to pick from. Pick the brain of your budtender and figure out what strain would be best for your first dab. Just don’t do the stupid dab gesture afterward, you’ll look like an idiot.

Jay-Z Cannabis Brand Monogram Launches

Jay-Z Cannabis Brand Monogram Launches

Jay-z cannabis brand monogram launches luxury cannabis products

Jay-Z just became the latest celebrity to launch a pot business.

Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter — the billionaire rapper and global business mogul behind a multitude of successful companies including D’Usse cognac, streaming service Tidal and entertainment firm Roc Nation — can now add premium cannabis brand Monogram to his portfolio.

Monogram’s core collection rolled out Thursday. Retailing between $40 and $70, the products include several cannabis strains designated as light, medium and heavy — available in pre-rolled cigars and joints and tins of cannabis flower.

In a statement obtained by CNBC, Jay-Z said his vision for the brand is “cannabis redefined.”

“Cannabis has been around for thousands of years, yet it is still an industry whose legacy of skilled craftsmanship is often overlooked,” he said. “I created Monogram to give cannabis the respect it deserves by showcasing the tremendous hard work, time and care that go into crafting a superior smoke. Monogram products are next level when it comes to quality and consistency and we’re just getting started.”

Jay-Z — who once famously referred to himself as a “business, man” not a “businessman” — joins a growing list of artists getting into the pot industry.

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