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Marijuana industry expected to add $92 billion to US economy in 2021

Marijuana industry expected to add $92 billion to US economy in 2021

Marijuana revenue is expected to surpass $90 billion in 2021

From jobs to tax revenue to commercial real estate, the marijuana industry has a large – and growing – impact on the broader economy in the United States.

The total U.S. economic impact from marijuana sales in 2021 is expected to reach $92 billion – up more than 30% from last year – and upwards of $160 billion in 2025, according to analysis from the newly published MJBizFactbook.

To measure the industry’s economic impact, MJBizDaily analyzed similar industries and applied a standard multiplier of 3.5 on projected recreational and medical marijuana retail sales.

The numbers are a best guess because the marijuana industry’s structure is somewhat unique because it encompasses agricultural, manufacturing and retail activity.

The economic impact of the marijuana industry is not the same as supply-chain revenues that are often used to estimate the “total size” of an industry.

Rather, the economic multiplier paints a picture of the impact the industry has on the broader economy.

In this case, for every $1 consumers and patients spend at retail locations, an additional $2.50 will be injected into the economy, much of it at the local level.

That impact comes directly from the day-to-day needs of workers in the cannabis industry, including spending on life’s necessities such as housing, transportation, entertainment and more.

Marijuana businesses, consumers and patients also pay hundreds of millions of dollars in state and local taxes that are used to fund state and local government activities, including schools and roads.

In addition, real estate receives a boost from new retail, manufacturing and agricultural businesses moving into an area or established companies expanding, increasing broader demand for commercial properties.

Cultivating and manufacturing marijuana can require large investments in equipment and technology that boost not only the local economy but also areas throughout the U.S.

The list goes on.

Using the same multiplier methodology can also offer insight into the local-dollar impact from sales of recreational and/or medical marijuana.

The economic impact will vary by state based on the size, maturity and type of market.

For example, as the largest market in the U.S., California’s marijuana industry is expected to pump close to $20 billion into the state’s economy in 2021.

No other state comes close to that amount.

But states such as Colorado, Illinois, Oregon and Washington will provide more than $10 billion each for their local economies in the coming years.

Expect the same for markets in densely populated states such as New Jersey and New York as they develop.

If we consider total population, some states benefit more than others.

Ann Arbor dispensary to open Michigan’s first cannabis consumption lounge

Ann Arbor dispensary to open Michigan’s first cannabis consumption lounge

Michigan cannabis consumption lounge approved in Ann Arbor
An Ann Arbor dispensary is venturing into recreational cannabis’ next frontier: consumption lounges.

According to WXYZ 7 Action News, Holistic Industries, which operates Liberty Provisioning Center, have announced plans to open a cannabis consumption lounge adjacent to the dispensary at 338 S. Ashley Street.

“We’re thrilled to bring Michigan’s first cannabis consumption lounge to Ann Arbor and create a one-of-a-kind experience for the many people in Ann Arbor who agree that life is better with cannabis,” a spokesperson shared with WXYZ. “By providing a safe, designated space for consumption, we are helping remove some of the potential roadblocks cannabis patients and customers face after they purchase products and want to consume them.”

Liberty Provisioning Center opened last summer and services recreational clients and medical marijuana patients. Despite 2018’s legalization of recreational weed in Michigan, neighboring businesses are concerned that a consumption lounge — which is exactly as it sounds like: a commercial space where adults are legally allowed to consume cannabis on-site — could pose a threat to the community.

Sherry Doughty, who operates a Montessori school just a few hundred feet from the proposed site of the consumption lounge, is among those community members who remain skeptical.

“We don’t want them using the playground as a place to party,” Doughty told WXYZ. “If people will be milling around outdoors and if that will impact our staff and our children.” A local therapist who operates his business out of a house close to the dispensary and the yet-to-open lounge is also wary even though he supports legal cannabis.

“I don’t want a bunch of potheads walking around acting like a bunch of fools, would you?” Ken Land said. “If they get out of line, I’ll get crabby. But if they don’t, live and let live.”

Alabama Approves Medical Cannabis Legalization

Alabama Approves Medical Cannabis Legalization

Alabama medical marijuana clears state Senate

Alabama lawmakers caved their opposition yesterday and formally approved the state’s medical cannabis legalization bill.

Alabama lawmakers sent a medical cannabis legalization bill to Gov. Kay Ivy (R) on Thursday that will allow qualifying patients to purchase certain forms of cannabis after receiving a doctor’s recommendation, according to the Associated Press.

Although House lawmakers ultimately passed the bill in a 68-36 vote, it was faced by a Republican filibuster, a delay, and finally a two-hour floor debate. The bill then returned to the Senate where it was quickly passed.

Governor spokesperson Gina Maiola said, “We appreciate the debate from the Legislature on the topic. This is certainly an emotional issue. We are sensitive to that and will give it the diligence it deserves.”

Under the law, conditions including cancer, terminal illnesses, chronic pain, depression, epilepsy, and panic disorder will qualify a patient to sign up for the program. The bill will allow patients to purchase pills, skin patches, and creams, but does not allow for the smoking or vaping of medical cannabis products. The legislation was named after Darren Wesley ‘Ato’ Hall, Rep. Laura Hall’s son who died from complications from AIDS.

The bill’s primary sponsor Republican Rep. Mike Ball, who is a former state trooper and state investigator, gave emotional testimony on the House floor.

“Every year that we delay getting help to people who need it, there are more people and more people who are suffering because of it. We’ve still got another year or so before this gets set up and cranked up, but at least we have hope now.” — Rep. Mike Ball

Former state Rep. Patricia Todd — who introduced Alabama‘s first medical cannabis bill in 2013 that would later receive a Shroud Award, an award given to bills deemed the least likely to pass — said she was happy the reforms had finally passed.

“They laughed at me,” she remembered. “I’m glad to see it passed. It’s long overdue.”

US to ban Backwoods, Swishers and other flavored blunt wraps

US to ban Backwoods, Swishers and other flavored blunt wraps

US government may ban blunts

Your illegal weed dealer might be adding menthol cigarettes and smuggled Backwoods and Swisher Sweets to their offerings next year.

On Thursday, April 29, the Food and Drug Administration announced plans to ban menthol-flavored cigarettes and all flavored cigars, starting in 2022. The FDA’s proposal responds to a lawsuit from the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council calling for the national ban, which would target makers and sellers, not users, of menthols and flavored cigars.

Tobacco companies will likely challenge the decision in court, according to Stat News.

But such a ban would affect many cannabis consumers—primarily Black smokers—who roll marijuana into flavored tobacco or cigar leaves, commonly called a blunt. Half of cigar sales in 2020 were two flavored brands: Black and Mild, followed by Swisher Sweets.

A 2020 study found that a third of weed consumers smoke blunts, while almost two-thirds of Black weed consumers smoke blunts. A separate study of blunt wrap brand Backwoods-tagged content on Instagram found that half of #backwoods posts were marijuana-related.

FDA confronts a health inequity

The FDA wants to reduce tobacco use, the leading cause of preventable death in the US. The agency stated that banning menthols and flavored cigars would reduce the number of kids who start smoking, and encourage menthol smokers to quit.

The FDA also said it specifically wants to reduce the number of Black Americans dying from tobacco. Three-quarters of Black smokers smoke menthols.

“Banning menthol—the last allowable flavor—in cigarettes and banning all flavors in cigars will help save lives, particularly among those disproportionately affected by these deadly products,” acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock said in a statement.

Banning menthols may cause 923,000 US smokers to quit, including 230,000 Black Americans in the first 13 to 17 months after a ban goes into effect. An earlier study claims the ban would prevent 633,000 deaths, including about 237,000 deaths averted for African Americans.

To do that, massive tobacco companies and distributors would face punishment for making, distributing, and selling menthols and flavored tobacco no earlier than next year.

Alabama House takes no vote on medical marijuana after 9-hour debate

Alabama House takes no vote on medical marijuana after 9-hour debate

Alabama medical marijuana fails to pass in the House

Republicans in the Alabama House of Representatives blocked a vote tonight on a bill to legalize, regulate, and tax medical marijuana.

The House adjourned at 11:43 p.m. after debating the legislation more than nine hours. They will return at 8 a.m. Thursday.

“I hope and pray that we take up where we’re at and we stay with this until we get an up or down vote,” Rep. Mike Ball, R-Madison, the House sponsor of the bill, said. “And I think you can see from the votes so far that there is a huge amount of support in this body, bipartisan support.”

Ball was referring to procedural votes on the bill today that passed by wide margins. But the final vote did not come tonight.

House Speaker Mac McCutcheon, R-Monrovia, said tonight as he left the chamber that the House would return to the medical marijuana bill Thursday morning. McCutcheon said he expects there will be a vote Thursday.

The speaker said the House on Thursday will also consider the bills to allow a lottery and six new casinos in Alabama. Those bills were approved in a committee Tuesday. The key bill in the three-bill package is a constitutional amendment that would require approval by voters in November 2022.

The final vote on medical marijuana never came tonight because a handful of lawmakers made repeated trips to the mic to delay it. McCutcheon said there was not enough support to pass a petition for cloture, which would have cut off the debate. The Republican majority has used cloture petitions to end Democratic filibusters during this session, but in this case would have been shutting off a filibuster by Republicans.

Still, the medical marijuana bill is closer than ever come to becoming law. It has passed the Senate three times but has never come up for a vote in the House.

Several Republican lawmakers opened the debate today by expressing staunch opposition to medical marijuana, saying it would move the state in the wrong direction and they were surprised it was being considered in Alabama.

But the bill cleared a procedural motion that was necessary for the debate to continue. The vote was 69-31. Another procedural vote passed 71-20. The debate continued after that until the House adjourned.

The legislation would set up a system to regulate the production and use of medical cannabis products from the cultivation of the plants to the sales of products at dispensaries.

Doctors could recommend medical marijuana for more than a dozen symptoms and conditions, including chronic pain, nausea and weight loss from cancer, seizure disorders, PTSD, muscle spasms from certain diseases, and others.

The bill, by Sen. Tim Melson, R-Florence, has already passed the Senate. Melson, a physician and medical researcher, said the 69-31 procedural vote was a strong sign that the House would pass the bill tonight.

“I have no doubt that it’s going to pass if it’s given a vote,” Melson said.

Las Vegas Braces for Cannabis Consumption Lounges

Las Vegas Braces for Cannabis Consumption Lounges

Las Vegas cannabis lounges

Cannabis lounges, where patrons can smoke a joint, rip a bong, vaporize a dab or do just about anything else you can think of with the plant, appeared to be a certainty as part of a Las Vegas ordinance back in 2017—and then again in 2019. They’ve been talked about for over four years in the entertainment capital of America.

But this time around, after years of setbacks and political meddling from the rival gaming industry, a bill at the Nevada State Legislature is on track to settle the score once and for all.

Assembly Bill 341 would pave the way for an unlimited number of lounges to open across the state, in counties where local governments allow cannabis businesses to operate. That includes in Sin City, where over 40 million tourists visited each year before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This would really open the floodgates for something marijuana users have wanted for a long time,” said Assemblyman Steve Yeager, a Democrat from Las Vegas who sponsored the bill. “And there’s a social equity part to it where we’re not restricting this just to licensed dispensary owners.”

Yeager, in his third term at the state’s biennial legislature, has felt the frustration himself. Long considered the heir apparent to former State Sen. Tick Segerblom, who was known as Nevada’s “Godfather of Marijuana,” Yeager watched as the fledgling industry offered all of its spoils to a tiny group of anointed business owners, most of whom were lawyers, doctors, casino operators, lobbyists and former public officials.

Less than 100 groups control almost all of the industry, as the state capped dispensary licenses from the adult-use program’s inception in 2017.  Many of the companies are also vertically integrated, meaning dispensary owners also hold the lion’s share of production and cultivation permits. Disproportionately left out have been women and racial minorities, the latter group of which was most harmed by cannabis prohibition.

The new bill runs so contrary to the state’s years of meticulously restricting licenses and hand-picking operators that many dispensary owners are wondering if opening a lounge is even worth the investment.

“You have to figure out if you can make any money with them,” said David Goldwater, owner of Inyo, a dispensary located just over a mile from the Las Vegas Strip. “There’s going to be a ton of new competition.”

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