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Malta becomes first EU country to legalize cannabis

Malta becomes first EU country to legalize cannabis

Malta has become the first EU country to legalize cannabis
Adults will be allowed to carry up to seven grams of cannabis and grow four plants at home, but smoking it in public or in front of children will remain illegal.

Several other nations have similar plans; Germany, Luxembourg and Switzerland being three other EU countries considering legalization. While cannabis use and possession is permitted under certain circumstances in the Netherlands, cannabis isn’t officially legal.

Malta’s parliament voted to legalize cannabis on Tuesday, December 14, 2021 with 36 members voting in favor and 27 against.

Equality Minister Owen Bonnici said the “historic” move would stop small-time cannabis users from facing the criminal justice system. A legal cannabis industry would also “curb drug trafficking by making sure that users now have a safe and regularized way from where they can obtain cannabis”.

However, Malta’s opposition Nationalist Party voted against the new law, claiming an increase in illegal market sales will be the result.

In October the group’s leader Bernard Grech — who initially supported the new law — warned it would “only lead to the strengthening of the illegal market, with organized crime taking advantage,” according to The Times. Opponents have already called on Malta’s president, George Vella, not to sign it into law, which is the final, ceremonial stage.

Under the new law anyone carrying more than seven grams, but less than 28g could be fined up to €100 ($112). The punishment for smoking in public will be a €235 ($265) fine, and those smoking cannabis in front of anyone younger than 18 could be fined up to €500 ($560).

Associations will be set up to distribute the seeds to cultivate cannabis or the consumable version itself in order to regulate how much someone buys. A person can only be a member of one association.

The Malta cannabis law also includes support for minors who are found with cannabis. They will be recommended a care plan or treatment as opposed to facing arrest or criminal charges.

While the EU’s smallest member state, Malta is likely to be the first of a number of nations changing their cannabis laws after the UN last year reclassified cannabis to recognize its therapeutic uses.

Several countries in the EU have decriminalized cannabis for recreational or medical use under certain conditions including Spain and Italy more recently. Switzerland also has plans to implement a legal cannabis industry in the future, and Germany’s new government has announced plans to legalize the plant as well.

As the shifting narratives and stigmatization surrounding cannabis are broken down thanks to more scientific research and studies into cannabis that have been hindered for decades, more countries are beginning to recognize the potential therapeutic and recreational benefits of cannabis.

Massachusetts Cannabis Company Makes 850 lb Pot Brownie

Massachusetts Cannabis Company Makes 850 lb Pot Brownie

massachusetts cannabis company makes world's largest pot brownie
In honor of National Brownie Day on December 8th, a Massachusetts cannabis company has created a record breaking cannabis edible treat.

MariMed, Inc. unveiled the 850-pound brownie infused with 20,000 milligrams of THC on Tuesday as part of its new edibles bakery brand, Bubby’s Baked.

According to USA Today, the brownie was made using 1,344 eggs, 250 pounds of sugar, 212 pounds of butter, 5.3 pounds of vanilla extract, 81 pounds of flour, 2 pounds of baking powder, 3 pounds of salt and 122 pounds of cocoa powder, and came in measuring 3 feet wide by 3 feet long and is 15 inches tall.

The previous world record for a cannabis brownie according to the Guinness Book of World Records was 243 pounds. The Bubby’s Baked brownie destroyed that record.

For a new edible company attempting to bring quality, tasty cannabis edible products to the Massachusetts cannabis industry, this was a great marketing effort.

“For many of us, homemade brownies were our first taste of cannabis-infused edibles. Bubby’s recreates and elevates that nostalgic experience, infusing full-spectrum, craft-quality cannabis into timeless recipes, for a reliable high reminiscent of simpler times,” said MariMed Chief Product Officer and SVP/Sales Ryan Crandall in a news release.

The new edible line will be available in Massachusetts cannabis dispensaries with plans to expand to Delaware and Maryland in 2022.

States Increase Microbusiness Licenses to Combat Multi State Operators

States Increase Microbusiness Licenses to Combat Multi State Operators

more states begin offering microbusiness licenses
More states are offering microbusiness licenses to cannabis entrepreneurs in an effort to diversify a market that some fear could become dominated by large, deep-pocketed multistate operators.

But the jury is still out on how successful such efforts will be.

So far, only three states have issued microbusiness licenses that require less capital to launch and operate a small, plant-touching enterprise: California, Massachusetts and Michigan.

Michigan already is moving to tweak its program to make it easier for microbusiness operators to survive and thrive.

“A lot of states are talking about the microbusiness game, but few have enacted it,” said Ed Keating, co-founder and chief data officer of Cannabiz Media, a Connecticut-based firm that provides licensing data and other business intelligence.

New recreational cannabis states that haven’t yet issued licenses – but have developed microbusiness and/or craft grower programs – include Connecticut, Illinois, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, Vermont and Virginia.

A draft bill also is in the works in Washington state to provide a “craft cannabis endorsement” designed to allow small, independently owned cultivators and processors to conduct on-site retail sales to individuals 21 and older.

Helping those with less access to capital

The programs have similar goals.

“It’s a way to make the business more accessible to citizens of the state that don’t have access to large amounts of capital,” Keating said.

“It’s often a nod to social equity,” he added, referring to efforts to help entrepreneurs who have been disadvantaged by the war on drugs.

“And it’s also maybe a hedge against big cannabis.”

A microbusiness generally is defined as a small enterprise that employs 10 people or fewer.

San Francisco Suspends Cannabis Tax to Combat Crime

San Francisco Suspends Cannabis Tax to Combat Crime

san francisco cannabis tax removed to fight against crime

San Francisco city officials approved an ordinance suspending the tax it planned to place on cannabis sales, according to multiple reports.

Set to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020, the 1% to 5% it was going to impose was approved by San Francisco voters in November 2018, the San Francisco Examiner reported.

The decision is due to a rise in illegal sales and increased theft and meant to helping cannabis retailers who have been struggling, trying to compete with illegal cannabis drug dealers.

“Sadly, the illegal market is flourishing by undercutting the prices of legal businesses, which is bad for our economy as illegal businesses pay no taxes while subjecting workers to dangerous conditions and consumers to dangerous products. Now is not the time to impose a new tax on small businesses that are just getting established and trying to compete with illicit operators,” said Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, author of the ordinance, to the San Francisco Examiner.

Last month, a group of armed individuals stole thousands of dollars’ worth of merchandise from a cannabis retailer, BASA, which had already dealt with four thefts, according to the report.

Mandelman said he plans to work with the City Comptroller’s Office, the Treasurer, Tax Collector ‘s Office and the Office of Cannabis for recommendations — including a tax rate and structure — to implement in 2023.

South Dakota issues first medical cannabis patient cards

South Dakota issues first medical cannabis patient cards

South Dakota issues first medical cannabis patient cards

South Dakota has printed and issued the first medical cannabis patient cards and the state’s Department of Health remains confident in its capability to adjust to demand increases.

Daniel Bucheli, spokesman for the South Dakota Department of Health, said the department’s ability to handle an influx of applications is due to the months of preparation that have gone into the medical cannabis program.

“We advise medical cannabis patients to have all their information at the ready to be submitted after their provider has issued their written certification,” he said.

The Department of Health has 15 days to process a patient medical card application from the day received, Bucheli said.

“At this time, we’ve received a handful of applications and dozens of provider enrollments. We are working on those now, and they will all be processed in accordance with the timelines established in state law,” he added.

A patient must first schedule an appointment with their physician. Then a determination is made by the physician whether the patient would benefit from the therapeutic or palliative use of medical cannabis for their condition. If yes, a medical certification is issued through the online portal for the patient. Physicians must create an account at medcannabisapplication.sd.gov to provide written certifications.

The patient will them receive an email to create an account on medcannabisapplication.sd.gov. Once compete, the patient must wait for DOH approval. Some applications, including minor patient applications, require caregivers to be registered. Caregivers will receive an email to create an account on medcannabisapplication.sd.gov.

Once complete, the caregiver must wait for DOH approval. Once the patient or caregiver gets DOH approval, a medical cannabis card will be mailed to the patient or caregiver. The cardholder may then purchase cannabis from a certified dispensary.

Weedmaps Releases First Data & Insights Report

Weedmaps Releases First Data & Insights Report

Weedmaps releases first report on the state of the legal cannabis industry

WM Technology, Inc. (“WM Technology” or the “Company”) (Nasdaq: MAPS), a leading technology and software infrastructure provider to the cannabis industry, has released its first data and insights report, titled ‘Cannabis in America’.

This report shares current data and insights indicative of the marketplace, cannabis industry trends, cultural revelations, and the persistent questions at the center of the cannabis conversation in America today. It’s been almost ten years since adult-use cannabis was first legalized in Colorado, and the past 18 months have seen exceptional progress across the United States thanks to expanded legalization and market growth driving the industry to new heights.

View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20211116005558/en/

“The insights from Weedmaps’ Cannabis in America report validate what we see every day: The stigma around cannabis is fading as it becomes more embedded in our culture and daily lives,” said Chris Beals, CEO of WM Technology. “This report highlights attitudes and trends within the industry by providing data and information directly from consumers – an important step as we work towards the goal of building a transparent and inclusive cannabis economy.”

Beals also added that, “Ultimately, this report represents the first steps of Weedmaps beginning to make its unparalleled levels of cannabis industry data available to policy makers, cannabis business holders and industry investors to help them make more informed and accurate decisions.”

Key takeaways include:

  • Cannabis delivery among Generation Z consumers increased by 125% year over year, with overall cannabis delivery increasing by 97%
  • The importance of social equity in the cannabis industry is growing, with 46% of cannabis consumers saying they want to patronize women-owned cannabis retailers, and 44% would like to give business to minority- or veteran-owned cannabis establishments
  • Cannabis use is being destigmatized, and 72% of cannabis consumers say that everyone or almost everyone knows they use cannabis
  • More than one-third, 36%, of Generation Xers believe cannabis is a good way to add tax revenue

Cannabis is big business as consumers are using and ordering more cannabis than ever before

The business of cannabis is entering a critical period as more states are backing cannabis-friendly measures, and efforts are being made towards federal legalization. The cannabis industry has become more sophisticated by appealing to new consumers and featuring distinctive brand elements often seen in more mature categories. New businesses, opportunities, and challenges continue to arise. Now, more than ever, cannabis means business.

  • Half (50%) of cannabis consumers said their consumption has increased since the start of the pandemic in March 2020. According to Weedmaps’ orders data, orders in H1 2021 increased by 55%, compared to H1 2020
  • While demand across categories remains consistent year over year, almost half (47%) of cannabis consumers believe edibles are becoming more popular. Millennials (ages 25-40) drove demand across categories for both H1 2020 and H1 2021, showing a slight preference for concentrates
  • The first half of 2021 saw a significant shift to cannabis delivery (60% vs. 40% in H1 2020)