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First New York cannabis dispensaries to open on tribal land

First New York cannabis dispensaries to open on tribal land

New York cannabis dispensaries

The New York legal cannabis industry may be delayed by politicians and bureaucracy, but that isn’t stopping Native tribes from rolling out their own markets.

The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe based in Akwesasne will be the first to launch a regulated cannabis market in New York state. Beginning April 15, several Tribal businesses will open their doors to sell cannabis flower, edibles and other cannabis products to consumers.

The Tribe is able to do so thanks to their Adult Use Cannabis Ordinance. The ordinance states that adults 21 years old or older can transport, possess, and use up to three ounces of cannabis and up to 24 grams of concentrated cannabis.

Once New York legalized cannabis officially in 2020, the option to legalize the plant on tribal lands became more enticing. Not beholden to state laws and regulations regarding the plant, the Tribe was free to establish their own regulatory framework to permit sales and possession.

The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe is also the first in the country to regulate and license tribal member-owned businesses for cannabis.

According to the Tribe, licensing fees collected from legal cannabis operations will be used to keep community members employed and fund a wide range of community services. Additionally the funds will help support educational scholarships, public safety, road maintenance, elder assistance, health care, and community organizations.

Tribal Chief Michael Conners said he believes the system will benefit the community while providing a safe product for consumers.

“We are confident that the hard work of the tribally licensed cannabis business owners will result in loyal customers from beyond Akwesasne,” Conners said. “We know that it took a while, but we are confident that our system is designed to provide quality product, in a regulated system, with Compliance oversight and a qualified Board of Managers to see that all regulations are followed for the safety of our community and consumers.”

Detroit to finally permit recreational cannabis sales

Detroit to finally permit recreational cannabis sales

Detroit cannabis sales to be allowed now.

Four years after legalization and following several months of hurdles, recreational cannabis will finally be available in Detroit soon.

Detroit’s City Council voted 8-1 on April 5 to allow the sale of adult-use cannabis to begin in the city. City Council president James Tate, a sponsor of the legislation, has said that the new ordinance will be equity-driven with a focus on assisting minority Detroiters to become business owners.

“This is providing the best opportunity possible for equity applicants and Legacy Detroiters to compete for these licenses,” Tate said recently at a public hearing on the ordinance. “For me, it’s important for us to strategically go in and identify how this industry can and should go in Detroit” instead of a more “shotgun” approach where whoever wants a license gets one.

This ordinance will have a major impact on the Michigan cannabis industry. Being the largest city in the state, Detroit has been missing out on millions in tax revenue that other cities have been collecting.

The state brought in nearly $250 million in tax revenue in 2021 without Detroit’s help. Over five million citizens live within the Detroit city limits, making up over half of the state’s entire population.

To say that recreational cannabis in Detroit will have an impact on the statewide industry would be a massive understatement.

According to Michael Elias, CEO of Michigan-based cannabis company Common Citizen, the passage of the adult-use ordinance is a “monumental win for Michigan’s largest city” and “will help create new job opportunities and contribute to the Motor City’s ongoing comeback.”

“This is a huge milestone for Detroiters and those in surrounding communities who have been seeking access to adult-use cannabis since voters approved recreational cannabis in 2018. At Common Citizen, we look forward to providing our safe, high-quality cannabis products to adult-use customers in addition to our patients at our Detroit location,” he added, in conversation with Benzinga.

New Mexico cannabis sales pass $4 Million in first weekend

New Mexico cannabis sales pass $4 Million in first weekend

New mexico cannabis sales brought in a lot of money

In its first weekend of adult-use recreational cannabis sales, New Mexico cannabis sales surpassed $4 million.

The brand new market broke $3 million on day one as dispensaries across the state opened their doors to customers for the first time. Over the next two days the industry would bring in a total of $4.5 million.

According to state officials, there have been 49,552 transactions for recreational cannabis as of 12 pm Sunday, totaling $3,092,712. During that same period, about $1,425,000 worth of medical cannabis was sold.

The first recreational cannabis transaction occurred at 12:01 a.m. in Las Cruces. Sales in the state’s largest city, Albuquerque, didn’t start till 10 a.m. By noon Friday, recreational sales had reached $476,000. About 70 percent of all cannabis sales Friday were for recreational use.

New Mexico cannabis sales for adult-use were signed into law by the state’s governor in April 2021. By December 2021 the state’s Cannabis Control Division began accepting applications with no limits on how many licenses would be given out.

Other states have taken similar approaches, like Oklahoma, which also didn’t put limits on licenses or plant counts for cultivators. While Oklahoma’s market is now oversaturated with cannabis products driving prices down, it is way too soon to say if New Mexico will face a similar issue.

Interstate cannabis commerce bill introduced in California

Interstate cannabis commerce bill introduced in California

California interstate cannabis commerce bill introduced

California has always been at the forefront of cannabis legalization. As one of the first states to legalize medical and recreational cannabis, other states looked to California for the outline of legal cannabis.

But despite its progressive policies regarding cannabis, California has not been able to develop and maintain a strong legal cannabis industry. This is for a wide range of reasons, from strict and expansive regulations to exorbitant application and licensing fees. Not to mention the massive illicit market that still operates within the state, in part due to the current barriers to entry into the legal market.

Some would argue that the solution to California’s cannabis industry woes is to simplify the application process, lessen the cost of licensing and give cultivators and retail owners the resources they need to stay within regulation. However the state is taking a different approach to profiting off an industry with an oversupply of cannabis.

SB1326 has been introduced to approve interstate commercial transactions for cannabis products. This means that if passed, California would be able to import and export cannabis products from other legal cannabis states. For example a state that recently legalized cannabis but does not yet have enough supply to meet demand could import products from California to fill the gaps.

If this bill sounds familiar, it may be because Oregon passed something similar in 2019. However since they were the only state with a law allowing export of cannabis, and no states have a law allowing imports, the law is basically moot.

The interstate cannabis commerce bill wouldn’t just be restricted to recreational cannabis either. California also has one of the country’s oldest medical cannabis programs and would be able to provide medical cannabis to neighboring states as well.

Even with the largest illicit market of cannabis production in the country, California’s legal recreational market is still oversupplied. The hope with SB 1326 is that some of that supply can be sent to other states to make the industry more profitable for those participating legally.

Critics of the bill have shown concern however over wording that could remove the opt-out clause currently in place in the state.

Most states with legal cannabis programs will have opt-out clauses that permit municipalities to opt-out of legal cannabis business in their localities. Those criticizing SB 1326 believe that the new bill will overshadow the opt-out clause, but lawmakers believe that it will actually give the municipalities more options than the opt-out clause itself provides.

The interstate cannabis commerce bill also places restrictions on who can enter the new market if it passes.

“The bill would prohibit an entity with a commercial cannabis license issued under the laws of another state from engaging in commercial cannabis activity within the boundaries of this state without a state license, or within a local jurisdiction without a license, permit, or other authorization issued by the local jurisdiction,” the bill’s text reads.

This line should reassure smaller towns and local businesses that multi-state operators won’t be able to just storm in and take over. And at this time, officials in the cannabis industry want to focus on leveling out the supply in California before they begin accepting any imports.

New Mexico gets ready for recreational cannabis sales

New Mexico gets ready for recreational cannabis sales

New Mexico legal cannabis dispensary

New Mexico recreational cannabis sales are set to start on April 1. While retailers aren’t too concerned about meeting the demands on opening day, nerves are still running high.

Hundreds of retail dispensaries will be opening their doors on April 1, and the excitement is palpable.

“We really expect that first day of business to be filled with excitement,” said Kristen Thomson, director of the Cannabis Control Division of the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department.

Some business owners have expressed concerns about whether supply will be able to meet demand in early days of legal sales. Thomson said she is certain cannabis growers have enough products to keep stores stocked.

“We do not have concerns about lack of product,” she said. “As with any new gadget or restaurant or something opening, some products may come up short, but we do not anticipate a massive statewide shortage of product on opening day.”

In addition to the medical cannabis dispensaries that have been in operation for years already, over 220 recreational dispensaries have been approved to open. However it is unclear exactly how many will be open for business on day one. Many of these licenses also include integrated licenses for businesses that produce, manufacture, deliver and sell cannabis products.

Thomson added that the biggest hurdle retailers are facing prior to opening day is getting approved for zoning in their specific municipalities. Other businesses that will be open on the first of legal sales don’t share the same optimism as Thomson regarding supply.

New Jersey prepares to launch recreational cannabis market

New Jersey prepares to launch recreational cannabis market

New Jersey recreational cannabis sales to start soon

New Jersey’s recreational cannabis market is gearing up to launch within weeks and is poised to become one of the largest on the East Coast with annual sales projected to top $2 billion within a few years.

The state is positioned to beat rival New York to the punch and to match, if not exceed, Massachusetts in annual adult-use sales.

But, like most new markets, industry officials are concerned about whether supply will be adequate to meet demand – at least in the early stages.

New Jersey’s adult-use market – approved by voters in November 2020 – is expected to launch with only a handful or so of the state’s existing medical cannabis operators.

The start of recreational marijuana sales also comes as social equity applicants are struggling to develop their business know-how, raise funds and secure real estate.

Existing medical marijuana operators might get as much as an 18-month head start on some new cannabis businesses, an industry expert said.

Missed deadline

The recreational marijuana law implementing the voter initiative called for sales to begin by Feb. 22, 2022, but the state ignored that deadline, saying it was too early.

Gov. Phil Murphy then hinted in late February that the market could launch “within weeks,” and state regulators indicated recently that they were nearly finished reviewing applications by five current MMJ operators.

Industry officials say that the state’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission could take up and approve those applications at its March 24 meeting, but it’s unclear how quickly sales would then be allowed to begin.

“We could have only five operators trying to meet the initial demand of the entire state,” said Rob DiPisa, co-chair of the cannabis law practice at Cole Schotz in New Jersey.

“It’s almost naive to think we aren’t going to run into some issues.”

While that’s been the case in other new adult-use markets as well, the New Jersey recreational marijuana law included provisions intended to prevent negative fallout for the state’s roughly 120,000 MMJ patients.

MJBizDaily projects that New Jersey recreational marijuana sales will ramp up from $625 million to $775 million in 2022 to more than $2 billion a year by 2025 or 2026.

Medical marijuana sales, meanwhile, are expected to peak by 2023 and then begin declining, as has been the trend in most adult-use states.