by The Real Dirt | Sep 3, 2021 | 420 Culture & Travel, 420 News, Blog, Business, Cannabis Business, Cannabis Law and Compliance, Cannabis News, Industry News, Legalization
BOSTON — The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission this week released numbers revealing sales of recreational marijuana has topped $2 billion dollars in the first three years of legalization.
The first Massachusetts recreational cannabis dispensaries opened for business in November 2018.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, which has negatively impacted other businesses, cannabis sales remains strong.
At Seed Recreational Dispensary in Jamaica Plain, which opened in March 2021, Assistant General Manager Bobby Driscoll is not surprised.
“I’m not surprised. It is definitely moving a little quicker than I think some of us in the industry had anticipated,” Driscoll said. “I think it was something we were waiting for, for a long time. A lot of people sacrificed a lot to get us to this point.”
Driscoll anticipates demand will remain strong, even as new dispensaries are approved and open for business.
by The Real Dirt | Sep 2, 2021 | 420 News, Blog, Business, Cannabis Business, Cannabis Law, Cannabis Law and Compliance, Cannabis News, Industry News, Legalization, Politics
New York’s recreational pot program is no longer a buzzkill.
The state Senate confirmed two long overdue appointments to the agency that will regulate pot sales in the state during a special session ordered by Gov. Kathy Hochul to fast-track the program Wednesday.
Tremaine Wright was confirmed as chairperson of the Cannabis Control Board, and Christopher Alexander was secured as executive director of the new office of Cannabis Management.
Wright is a former Democratic assemblywoman who represented Bedford-Stuyvesant, and Alexander is government relations and policy manager at the Canada-based cannabis company, Vill, LLC.
Four more members still need to be named to the board by the governor and legislative leaders, which is responsible for awarding licenses to cannabis sellers in the state. The appointees do not need to be approved by lawmakers.
Hochul ordered the special session Tuesday with a thinly veiled swipe at her predecessor, disgraced Gov. Andrew Cuomo, saying she wanted “to jumpstart the long-overdue decisions pertaining to establishing cannabis in the state of New York.”
Recreational cannabis was approved by Albany in the spring after being shelved by Cuomo amid the COVID-19 pandemic last year.
“These two individuals bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to their new roles, and I know they will do a tremendous job of outlining and implementing regulations that are safe, fair and transparent, and that recognize the need to remedy the impact that prohibition has had on communities of color,” the Democrat said in a statement.
“I look forward to working with them on building our state’s cannabis industry and effecting real change for New Yorkers.”
State Sen. Liz Krueger, who chairs the powerful state Senate Finance Committee and sponsored the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, said Hochul’s appointees to the cannabis board cleared her committee after being questioned.
by The Real Dirt | Sep 1, 2021 | Blog, Cannabis Law, Cannabis Law and Compliance, Cannabis News, Culture, Legalization, Medical Marijuana
The National Legislative Assembly of Panama has approved this Monday a bill that legalizes the medicinal use of cannabis with 44 votes in favor and none against. It thus becomes the first country in Central America to regulate the consumption of this substance.
The new law, which will come into force after its approval by President Laurentino Cortizo, will create a regulatory framework for the use and controlled access of cannabis “for therapeutic, medical, veterinary, scientific and research purposes”, as stated in the approved text.
This measure responds to a historical claim of patients from different pathologies, to which this substance could help mitigate pain, and to which they only had irregular access. Those who will see their quality of life improved are people with glaucoma, epilepsy, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, migraines or seizures and those who suffer from different types of pain, including those caused by cancer.
From now on, in Panama the import, export, cultivation, production and commercialization of cannabis and its derivatives will be allowed through licenses granted by the state. Its cultivation will take place in established areas with limited access and only pharmaceutical companies or companies specialized in therapeutic services will be able to acquire and commercialize it. Its illegal production and sale will be punished with penalties of 10 to 15 years in prison.
Thus, the sale of cannabis at home, through the Internet or outside authorized establishments is prohibited. Likewise, its advertising in the media or social networks will also be prohibited.
by The Real Dirt | Aug 30, 2021 | 420 News, Blog, Cannabis Law, Cannabis Law and Compliance, Cannabis News, Legalization, Medical Marijuana
Missouri voters may see a multiple marijuana initiatives on the state’s 2022 ballot, with a new group filing an adult-use legalization proposal on Friday that could compete with separate reform measures that are already in the works.
Legal Missouri 2022 submitted the latest measure to the secretary of state’s office, and it will now go through a review period before being potential certified.
The initiative would make it so adults 21 and older could purchase, possess and cultivate cannabis for personal use.
Regulators would be tasked with developing rules to set possession limits, but they would need to allow adults 21 and older to purchase at least up to three ounces of cannabis. People would have to register with the state to grow marijuana for personal use, and they’d be limited to cultivating six mature and six immature plants, in addition to six clones.
Under the proposal, there would be a six percent tax on marijuana sales, with the option of an additional local tax of up to three percent.
Revenue from those taxes would first support a provision mandating automatic expungements for people with prior, non-violent cannabis convictions. The surplus would be divided among programs for veterans’ health care, substance misuse treatment and the state’s public defender system.
“There’s widespread support among Missouri voters to regulate, tax and legalize marijuana,” John Payne, Legal Missouri 2022 campaign manager, said in a press release. “The status quo has allowed an unsafe, illegal market to thrive in Missouri, while preventing law enforcement from truly prioritizing the fight against violent crime.”
“Now is the time for Missouri to join the 19 other states to have successfully regulated and taxed adult use marijuana, bringing millions in new funding for vital state services,” he said.
Individual jurisdictions would be able to opt out of allowing marijuana businesses, but only if voters approve such a ban.
by The Real Dirt | Aug 20, 2021 | 420 News, Blog, Business, Cannabis Business, Cannabis Law, Cannabis Law and Compliance, Cannabis News, Industry News, Legalization
New Jersey’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission has approved rules to set up the state’s recreational marijuana marketplace.
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey‘s cannabis regulators on Thursday approved rules to set up the recreational marijuana marketplace, giving application priority to women-, minority- and disabled veteran-owned businesses and paving the way for sales to begin.
A timeline for when people 21 and older could head to a retailer to buy a marijuana cigarette, vape pen or edible wasn’t given, but chairperson Dianna Houenou said after the meeting that a date for when sales can begin hasn’t been set yet because the commission wants to be sure that the application process goes smoothly. She said the start date is “admittedly uncertain.”
“We know that there is a lot of interest in getting this market up and running and we were duty-bound to do it right,” she said in a separate statement.
The five-member commission, which was established under a February law, voted unanimously to approve the the 160-pages of regulations. The rules got expedited treatment under the law, sidestepping the usual public comment and response period.
Commission executive director Jeff Brown said a next step will be a notice that applications will be accepted.
The rules focus heavily on what commissioners called equity — a main driver of the legislation because of years of disproportionate enforcement of marijuana laws against Black residents in particular.
Among the rules is priority for applications from companies owned by minorities, women and disabled veterans, as well as for those from poor areas and past marijuana-related criminal offenses.
Application fees were designed to be low to encourage small business owners, and not just major firms, from applying, with fees as low as $100. Annual licenses for microbusinesses — firms with 10 employees — will cost $1,000. Large businesses could pay up to $50,000 for an annual cultivator license.
by The Real Dirt | Aug 18, 2021 | 420 News, Blog, Cannabis News, Culture, Legalization
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The percentage of U.S. adults who say they have tried marijuana has ticked up to 49%, the highest Gallup has measured to date. More than 50 years ago, just 4% said they had tried the drug, but that percentage surpassed 20% in 1977, 30% in 1985 and 40% in 2015.
A much smaller proportion of U.S. adults, 12%, say they “smoke marijuana.” The percentage of current marijuana smokers has been steady in recent years, varying between 11% and 13% after increasing from the 7% Gallup initially measured in 2013.
The results are based on Gallup’s annual Consumption Habits poll, conducted July 6-21.
Generational patterns explain the increase in marijuana experimentation over the last five decades. The oldest Americans living today, those born before 1945 whom Gallup calls “traditionalists,” are much less likely than those in other birth cohorts to have tried marijuana, with just 19% saying they have done so. That compares with about half of millennials (51%), Generation Xers (49%) and baby boomers (50%).
These generational figures are based on combined data from the 2015-2021 Consumption Habits surveys. Gallup does not yet have sufficient data to provide reliable estimates for Generation Z, the oldest of whom are 24 years old now.
Comparing the most recent generational figures with data from the 1980s and 1990s finds little change in the rate of marijuana experimentation among baby boomers and Gen X. Combined data from the 1985 and 1999 Gallup polls shows that 44% of members of Gen X and 50% of baby boomers had tried marijuana as of then.
During those years, a lower proportion of traditionalists than today had tried marijuana (10%). The increase in that group today compared with the 1980s and 1990s probably reflects the dying off of many of the oldest members of that generation, who were much less likely than younger traditionalists to have tried marijuana.