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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.

Popular soda brand Jones Soda unveils new cannabis infused drinks

Popular soda brand Jones Soda unveils new cannabis infused drinks

Jones Soda company releases new cannabis infused drinks

You may have seen their bottled sodas at your local grocery store. Now Jones Soda is dipping their feet into legal cannabis with a line of new products.

Mary Jones — the new brand from Jones Soda — will introduce cannabis-infused drinks, gummies and syrups to California consumers on April 1. According to the company’s marketing chief Bohb Blair, the company is hoping their recognizable branding will help them gain a chunk of the cannabis drink marketshare that is increasing constantly.

As a smaller, craft soda company, Jones Soda’s 2021 revenue was only .04% of what Coca-Cola pulled in, at just $14.8 million. However the company is using its smaller size to their advantage.

While larger companies like PepsiCo and Coke are hesitant to enter the cannabis drinks market due to federal legality, Jones is more willing to take the risk.

Blair believes that the company’s brand recognition as a quality, craft soda company will give them the edge over existing soda drinks. The current products on the market, according to Blair, are light on flavor and low on dosage. This leaves the door open for Mary Jones to capitalize.

“Health claims aren’t our equity, full flavor is,” Blair said. “We had some conversations early on: Should we be putting CBD in this? And no, it’s not who we are.”

The initial launch will include four different product lines: 12-ounce bottles of soda infused with 10 milligrams of cannabis; 16-ounce cans of soda infused with 100 milligrams of cannabis; syrup designed to mix with other drinks or on food with 1000 milligrams of cannabis per bottle; and gummies infused with five milligrams of cannabis, shaped like mini Jones Soda bottles.

While they are starting in California dispensaries only, Mary Jones already has plans to expand to every legal state in the country.

“We have been putting all of these pieces in place since we announced our intention to establish a cannabis division last July, and we fully expect the brand to deliver solid strategic growth for the company,” CEO Mark Murray said in a statement.

Because the new line of products will only be sold in dispensaries, Jones Soda isn’t worried about consumers mixing up the labels. To distinguish the new products from their traditional line, the Mary Jones branding is a different design, with THC dosages printed in large font.

As a publicly traded company, it is a bold move for Jones Soda to enter the cannabis-infused products market, However they aren’t the first.

Molson Coors, Anheuser-Busch and Boston Beer — the maker of Samuel Adams — have all started their foray into the legal cannabis industry. However there haven’t been any well-known soda companies that made the move, until now.

While still small and lesser known than the big names, Jones Soda has a name that is recognizable on grocery store shelves. As long as Mary Jones can utilize that recognition on dispensary shelves, the new line of products will likely bring a fresh take on cannabis-infused drinks to the market.

Republicans aim to restrict Oklahoma medical marijuana industry

Republicans aim to restrict Oklahoma medical marijuana industry

Oklahoma medical marijuana industry would be restricted under new legislation

Republicans in the Oklahoma House are unveiling a package of new restrictions on the medical marijuana industry.

The 12-point plan includes a standardization of lab testing and equipment, more inspections of grow facilities, separate licenses for marijuana wholesalers and stringent new reporting requirements for electric and water usage by growers. One proposal would also make the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority a stand-alone agency, not a division of the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

“If you’re an illegal operator in Oklahoma, you’re time is up,” said Rep. Scott Fetgatter, an Okmulgee Republican and a member of the House Republican working group on medical marijuana.

The marijuana industry has been booming in Oklahoma since voters in 2018 approved one of the most liberal medical programs in the nation. It’s easy for patients to obtain a two-year medical license, and nearly 10% of the state’s population is now authorized to buy and use marijuana. Unlike other states, there also are no restrictions on the number of dispensary or grow licenses, and the low cost for entry into the industry has led to a flood of out-of-state pot entrepreneurs seeking to capitalize on the boom.

Oklahoma seed-to-sales tracking moves forward in Oklahoma

Oklahoma seed-to-sales tracking moves forward in Oklahoma

Oklahoma seed-to-sale injunction is lifted for medical marijuana

Oklahoma’s medical marijuana seed-to-sale system can move forward following a partial resolution.

An agreement between the medical marijuana commercial licensees who filed the lawsuit and co-defendants Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority and Metrc enabled the seed-to-sale system to proceed.

An Agreed Order was filed Friday, lifting the restraining order that prevented OMMA from implementing the seed-to-sale tracking and tagging system for the medical marijuana industry. Metrc is OMMA’s contractor for the program.

“Lifting this injunction clears the single biggest roadblock to OMMA enforcing the law,” said OMMA Executive Director Adria Berry. “This is a crucial step toward cracking down on licensees operating illegally or skirting the system within Oklahoma’s medical marijuana industry. Come May 27th, we will focus the bulk of our enforcement authority on businesses that are not Metrc-compliant.”

Viridian Legal Services obtained the restraining order last April as a continuation in the class action lawsuit filed on behalf of over 10,000 state licensed cannabis businesses across Oklahoma.

Ronald Durbin, the attorney who represented the thousands of cannabis businesses, previously told KFOR that implementing Metrc would create a monopoly and that the company would earn over $12 million in just the first year.

Now that the seed-to-sale system can move forward, medical marijuana commercial licensees throughout the state have until Thursday, May 26 (90 days) to comply with the Metrc seed-to-sale tracking system.

NY Gov. Hochul signs conditional cannabis cultivation bill

NY Gov. Hochul signs conditional cannabis cultivation bill

New York passes conditional cannabis cultivation licenses

With this legislation, NY is creating a new Conditional Adult-use Cannabis Cultivator license, allowing hemp farmers to grow cannabis in the 2022 growing season.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed new legislation on Tuesday that will allow hemp farmers in the state to apply for a conditional license to grow cannabis.

With this legislation, New York is creating a new Conditional Adult-use Cannabis Cultivator license, allowing hemp farmers to grow cannabis in the 2022 growing season. Conditionally licensed cannabis farmers must hit certain requirements under this law.

According to the governor’s office, some of the requirements include, “safe, sustainable and environmentally friendly cultivation practices, participation in a social equity mentorship program, and engagement in a labor peace agreement with a bona fide labor organization.”

“I am proud to sign this bill, which positions New York’s farmers to be the first to grow cannabis and jumpstart the safe, equitable and inclusive new industry we are building,” Hochul said. “New York State will continue to lead the way in delivering on our commitment to bring economic opportunity and growth to every New Yorker in every corner of our great state.”

Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes added, “Last year, after many years of fighting, we finally enacted the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, and are beginning to undo the devastating impacts over 90 years of unequal enforcement of marijuana prohibition had on too many lives and communities. MRTA ensures that the legal adult-use market will be centered on equity and economic justice for communities of color and individuals that have been harmed most by the War on Drugs in the State of New York. With the passage of this bill, we have the opportunity to create a responsible start to the adult-use cannabis industry by authorizing temporary conditional cultivator and processor licenses to current New York hemp farmers. This authority will help secure enough safe, regulated, and environmentally conscious cannabis products to meet the demand of the adult-use cannabis market when retail dispensaries open. Importantly, this legislation calls for a Social Equity Mentorship Program, which will create a viable and inclusive path for social and economic equity partners interested in cannabis cultivation and processing to gain invaluable knowledge and experience in this emerging industry. The temporary conditional licenses authorized by this bill will ultimately help realize the vision and goals of the MRTA.”