by The Real Dirt | Jan 27, 2022 | Blog, Business, Cannabis Business, Cannabis News, Culture, Industry News, Legalization
If there’s any doubt about weed’s popularity, just hit the road — billboards are seemingly everywhere advertising recreational marijuana stores. The numbers back it up, too.
Since adult-use retailers opened in Massachusetts in November 2018, gross total sales have now reached $2.54 billion, according to data from the Cannabis Control Commission.
While tax data shows alcohol consumption is hardly plummeting, the meteoric rise in cannabis use speaks to changing attitudes about recreational alcohol and marijuana use.
“I think that people are looking for an alternative to make them feel better,” said Mikayla Bell, community outreach manager for NETA, one of the largest cannabis retailers in the state. “Oftentimes people are turning to alcohol for relief. And now they found another product with without the hangover, without the calories.”
Bell said the general public is becoming more comfortable with the idea of recreational marijuana, even if they’re not using it themselves.
Data obtained by 5 Investigates reveals plenty of people are consuming it. Take excise taxes, which are levied on both alcohol and marijuana.
Alcohol excise taxes have increased slightly in the past five fiscal years. Halfway through the current fiscal year, Massachusetts has collected $51.3 million so far in alcohol excise taxes.
For the first time, marijuana excise taxes have exceeded alcohol’s. At the same midway point this fiscal year, the state has collected $74.2 million as December 2021.
by The Real Dirt | Jan 25, 2022 | Blog, Cannabis Law, Cannabis Law and Compliance, Cannabis News, Culture, Growing, Legalization, Medical Marijuana
BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand’s narcotics board on Tuesday said it would remove cannabis from its drugs list, paving the way for households to grow the plant.
Thailand became the first Southeast Asian country to legalise marijuana in 2018 for medical use and research.
Under the new rule, people can grow cannabis plants at home after notifying their local government, but the cannabis cannot be used for commercial purposes without further licenses, Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul told reporters.
The rule must be published in the official Royal Gazette and 120 days must pass before home cannabis plants will become legal.
Meanwhile, the health ministry will this week present to parliament a separate draft bill which provides details on the legal use of cannabis, including its production and commercial use, including guidelines on recreational use.
Homegrown cannabis should be used for medical purposes like traditional medicine, food and drug regulator chief, Paisal Dankhum has said previously and that there would be random inspections.
The draft bill punishes growth of cannabis without notifying the government with a fine of up to 20,000 baht ($605.33) and prescribes a fine of up to 300,000 baht or three years in jail, or both, for selling it without a license.
The move is the latest step in Thailand’s plan to promote cannabis as a cash crop. About a third of its labour force works in agriculture, according to the World Bank.
by The Real Dirt | Jan 21, 2022 | Blog, Cannabis Law, Cannabis Law and Compliance, Cannabis News, Culture, Growing, Legalization, Medical Marijuana, Politics
New Jersey state Senator Nick Scutari (D), the Senate President and a major proponent of cannabis legalization, said he doesn’t see the home cultivation of cannabis coming anytime soon.
New Jersians will not immediately be able to grow their own cannabis, neither for medical nor personal use purposes, the Asbury Park Press reports. During a webinar with cannabis industry professionals, state Sen. Nick Scutari (D), the main proponent of cannabis legalization in the state Senate and the new chamber president, said he does “not see” home cultivation “happening right now.”
“I’m not against marijuana being grown at home for medical purposes and maybe even just recreational purposes. But we’ve got to let this industry … it’s not even off the ground yet.” Scutari said during a press conference.
Currently, the price of medical cannabis in New Jersey runs about $412 to $420 per ounce, according to Curaleaf prices outlined by the Press.
Jo Anne Zito, a board member for the Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey, said allowing patients to grow their own medicine would be “a tremendous help.”
“It doesn’t seem like the sky has fallen in these other places,” she told the Press. “Yeah, some of it may get to the illicit market but I don’t think it’s anything that’s hurting revenue or setting back legal sales.”
Of the 19 states that have legalized cannabis, New Jersey is the only one that does not allow medical patients to grow their own, the report says. Cultivating even one cannabis plant in the state is still punishable by up to five years in prison and a $25,000 fine, despite the state’s legalization law.
by The Real Dirt | Jan 14, 2022 | Blog, Business, Cannabis Business, Cannabis Law, Cannabis Law and Compliance, Cannabis News, Culture, Hemp, Hemp Law, Industry News
Rep. Chris Hurt (R-Halls) filed House Bill 1690 this week. The bill seeks to regulate psychotropic hemp-derived cannabinoids, which include products that have more than 0.1 percent THC. (Current federal regulations limit THC to 0.3 percent.) That includes products containing the newly popular Delta-8 THC but not pure CBD products, which do not contain THC.
As a member of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, a former hemp farmer and current co-owner of CBD ProCare — a CBD company in Dyersburg — Hurt says he filed the bill in an effort to “legitimize the industry.”
According to Hurt and Joe Kirkpatrick of the Tennessee Growers Coalition, who collaborated with Hurt on the writing of the bill, no other state has legislation that specifically taxes and limits the sale of hemp-derived cannabidiol products.
“People think that Tennessee is the last to do anything when it comes to the hemp industry,” Kirkpatrick says, “but they are forgetting that Tennessee was the first state to allow and define smokable hemp and the first state to allow the feeding of hemp to livestock.”
HB1690 would do three things: create a licensing requirement for retailers and wholesalers, establish a 6.6-percent excise tax on the wholesale of hemp-derived cannabinoids and limit sale of psychotropic hemp-derived products like Delta-8 to those 21 and older.
The bill would require retailers and wholesalers to apply for an annual $200 license through the Tennessee Department of Agriculture. Based on the licensing structure outlined, Kirkpatrick says he would expect the state to collect $160,000 annually in fees. (The legislative Fiscal Review Committee has not yet analyzed the potential economic impact of the legislation.) Licenses could be revoked or suspended at the discretion of the Department of Agriculture.
Kirkpatrick estimates that the proposed 6.6 percent tax, modeled after the tax on tobacco, could generate as much as $4-5 million in annual revenue for the state. Hurt and Kirkpatrick would like to see the money collected from licensing and the wholesale tax used to increase the resources at the Department of Agriculture to ensure product safety.
by The Real Dirt | Jan 10, 2022 | Blog, Business, Cannabis Business, Cannabis News, Culture, Industry News, Legalization
Sales taxes collected by states with legal cannabis programs totaled $10.4 billion as of December since the adult use market launched in 2014 in Colorado and Washington State, according to a study by The Marijuana Policy Project.
A report released Thursday by the pro-industry group said the $10.4 billion figure includes more than $3 billion in sales tax reported in 2021, thus far.
“States that have legalized cannabis for adults are reaping significant economic benefits,” said Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies at the Marijuana Policy Project.
The tax revenue helps fund education, school construction, early literacy, public libraries, behavioral health, alcohol and drug treatment, veterans’ services, conservation, job training, conviction expungement expenses, and community reinvestment.
“In many instances that revenue is being distributed to much needed public services and programs, including reinvesting in communities that were devastated by the war on drugs,” O’Keefe said. “This is in stark contrast to [cannabis] prohibition, which costs taxpayers billions of dollars each year to enforce.”
Some examples include $471.9 million toward improving the public education system in Colorado and more than $100 million in California for community and non profit groups that help people impacted by drug laws.
In Illinois, cannabis tax revenue has outpaced revenue from liquor taxes. According to data from the state, adult use cannabis generated about $193 million in tax revenue from July through the end of November, compared to about $141.3 million over the same period for liquor sales taxes, which include levies on beer, wine and spirits.
by The Real Dirt | Jan 5, 2022 | Blog, Business, Cannabis Business, Cannabis Law, Cannabis Law and Compliance, Cannabis News, Culture, Industry News, Legalization, Politics
Lake County has some of the largest acreages in permitted cannabis grows in California. Yet, despite a legal market, illegal grows are unfairly undermining the profitability of lawful cultivators.
This illegal market that voters sought to eradicate with cannabis legalization is quickly eroding the permitted industry and threatening public safety. Amounting to an estimated 80% of all cannabis sales in California, the market is saturated with low-cost illicit product. Cannabis cultivators are unable to compete.
As the underground economy thrives, so does criminal activity and environmental harm.
Rural counties with land and industry prime for cannabis cultivation are at the front lines of this battle, including those in the Sacramento region. During a time of limited staffing and competing priorities, local governments require increased state funding for enforcement.
The path for the legal industry is already challenging. Growers face a long permit process, including extensive state-mandated environmental review and higher taxes intended to help monitor and ensure public health and safety.
Distribution is also affected by the struggles of the state’s licensed retail outlets, which must compete with illegal retailers that similarly flourish due to limited enforcement resources.
Unencumbered by these obstacles, illicit growers and suppliers can sell product at half the cost and distribute them nationally. The negative impact to residents and the environment from this activity is significant.
A 2020 raid on illegal cannabis grows in Lake County resulted in the seizure of over 51,000 plants and the discovery of 40 state Fish and Wildlife violations. This included storage of chemical pollutants near waterways and usage of underage labor. Stories like these are echoed across the state, with illegal grows linked to violent crime, environmental damage and wildfire.