New Mexico Cannabis Sales Hit $40 Million in July

State officials in New Mexico announced this week that sales of regulated cannabis topped $40 million in July, setting a new record since legal sales of recreational pot began in the state earlier this year. The Cannabis Control Division of the Regulation and Licensing Department noted the figure tops the monthly purchases of regulated cannabis recorded every month since April, when licensed sales of recreational weed kicked off in the state.

During the month of July, licensed retailers throughout New Mexico reported more than $40 million in cannabis sales, with sales of adult-use cannabis alone topping $23 million. Cannabis sales totaled more than $39 million in April, the first month of legalized recreational sales and the state’s previous record high, with April adult-use sales totaling just over $22 million. New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said that the figures show that a strong market for regulated recreational marijuana is being created in the state.

“These numbers show that the impressive sales generated in the first month of legalized recreational cannabis sales were no fluke – and this is only the beginning,” Lujan Grisham said on Thursday in a statement from the governor’s office. “We’ve established a new industry that is already generating millions of dollars in local and state revenue and will continue to generate millions more in economic activity across the state, creating thousands of jobs for New Mexicans in communities both small and large.”

State officials noted that the strongest sales of cannabis were reported in New Mexico’s most populated areas including Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Las Cruces, Hobbs, and Rio Rancho. Albuquerque saw the highest cannabis sales in the state, with combined adult-use cannabis and medical marijuana purchases topping $14 million in July. Santa Fe was next in line, with just under $3.5 million in combined sales last month. Sunland and Hobbs, two cities on the border with Texas, where recreational pot is still illegal, each recorded more than $1 million in adult-use cannabis sales.

New Cannabis Products Helping To Drive Sales

Rusty Poe, the manager of Sol Cannabis in Las Cruces, told local media that sales at his shop keep increasing.

“Sales have actually been steadily increasing for us, the more product we bring in the more sales we have,” said Poe, noting that new products on the dispensary menu including cannabis-infused beverages and edibles have helped fuel the uptick in sales.

New Mexico Cannabis Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ben Lewinger said that the state’s cannabis sales figures are a victory for New Mexico and its growing industry.

“I couldn’t be prouder of my home state,” said Lewinger. “The Cannabis Regulation Act presented what felt like an impossible timeline to stand up a brand new adult use cannabis industry, yet here (we) are – four months into legal cannabis for folks over 21 and we have record sales, for not only adult use but also our cherished medical cannabis program. …Best of all, no one city or county owns this success — the industry will continue to grow across the entire state.”

Since regulated sales of adult-use cannabis began in April, dispensaries have rung up more than $88 million in recreational pot sales. The Cannabis Control Division releases sales numbers monthly, with data made available at the beginning of each month for the previous month.

New Mexico’s rising sales of adult-use cannabis are a boon for the public coffers as well as the state’s cannabis industry. New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department spokesman Charlie Moore said cannabis excise tax returns totaled close to $2.5 million in June. The amount of tax generated by sales of cannabis in July will be released by the agency in late August.

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Maine Dispensaries Anticipate Sales Onslaught Ahead of Phish Show

Dispensaries in Maine are preparing to batten down the hatches. Bangor Daily News reports that jam-band Phish is coming to town, and local dispensary workers are bracing for the frenzied rush of business the concert will likely bring.

Phish will perform at the Maine Savings Amphitheater on the Bangor Waterfront in Bangor, Maine on July 16—marking the band’s fifth performance in the city since 1993 and its 47th show in Maine. It’s the first time Phish is performing in Maine with recreational sales after the state legalized cannabis two years ago.

Why all the fuss? Because Phish’s fanbase of tie-dyed stoned hippies are so devoted and cult-like, the argument has even been made that Phish is an actual cult. (It’s not.) Unlike typical bands, Phish fans follow the band around the country religiously, and concerts generally draw a lot of outsiders—outsiders who smoke bud. Five-digit numbers of people in the crowd is not too uncommon.

While locals are wary about the influx of cannabis that is likely to happen, they also acknowledged how the pot-smoking crowd is easier to deal with than a drunk crowd.

“Phish fans definitely bring a great crowd, but they are pretty well-behaved compared to others. It’s not crazy like the country shows. Those fans like to party,” Mark Greenleaf, owner Carolina Sports & Spirits, told Bangor Daily News. Greenleaf’s business storefront is only a few hundred feet from the entrance to the amphitheater that Phish will perform at. “We’re happy to have any concert event. They always bring us some business, and many of them pack the place.”

Dispensary owners also expect an increase in sales, but maybe aren’t 100% convinced the concert will create a phenomenon.

“We’re grateful for every concert that comes to town. It’s always a boon for us,” said Sam Cross, manager at Firestorm, a dispensary in town. “It’s hard to say exactly what kind of crowd we’ll see for Phish, but we’ll definitely see them. It’s always nice to see a caravan of Phish fans come in.”

High Times reported on the phenomenon that Phish concerts create, providing an atmosphere that you don’t even need weed to enjoy. Last April 20 in New York, Phish also performed at Madison Square Garden, celebrating the state’s first legal 420 holiday.

The event in Maine may not be quite so large, but it draws the same cult-like devotion seen at the band’s other concerts.

Cannabis and psychedelics are practically synonymous with the band as they complement the musical genre very well. The Vermont-based band formed in 1983 and plays the jam-band style of music that emerged out of the 1960s psychedelic scene. When Jerry Garcia died in 1995, apparently a lot of Grateful Dead followers—aka deadheads—refocused on Phish. Expect a lot of braided hemp and glass pipe accessories, and plenty of long hair. The band consists of lead vocalist Trey Anastasio along with Page McConnell, Mike Gordon, and Jon Fishman.

Phish has played in Maine nearly 50 times since 1989. At one particular event, The Great Went at Loring Air Force Base in Aroostook County in 1997, over 75,000 people showed up. It was 1997’s highest-grossing rock concert in the U.S., according to Bangor Daily News.

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New Jersey Recreational Pot Sales Hit $24 Million in the First Month

New Jersey state officials announced this week that purchases of recreational cannabis hit $24 million in the first month of sales, despite only a dozen stores being licensed to sell adult-use cannabis. The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission, the state’s marijuana regulatory agency, also revealed on Tuesday that six more dispensaries will be authorized to sell recreational cannabis soon, increasing the number of retailers statewide by half.

“It’s really only a beginning, and I think it shows that there’s a lot of growth left in this market,” said Jeff Brown, the commission’s executive director.

New Jersey voters approved a referendum to legalize recreational cannabis in 2020, and state lawmakers approved legislation to regulate the state’s adult-use market in August 2021. On April 11, the commission announced that it had authorized seven companies to begin sales of recreational pot at a total of 13 dispensaries. On April 21, sales began at 12 of the locations, with the last launching adult-use cannabis about two weeks later.

At a meeting of the commission on Tuesday, officials said that the first month’s sales total of $24 million will surely increase as more licensed businesses begin operations.

“We do anticipate that this will ramp particularly as new dispensaries are approved, new cultivators are approved, and a lot of the conditional applicants that we have approved are able to come back and convert to annual licenses and begin operating,” Brown said.

Retail Pot Market Just Getting Started

Sharon Ali, Mid-Atlantic regional general manager at multi-state cannabis cultivator and retailer Acreage Holdings, agreed that New Jersey’s legal recreational weed market is just getting started.

“With only twelve operational adult-use dispensaries open, New Jersey has already seen $24 million in sales—a strong indicator of incredible potential as more adult-use retailers are approved,” Ali wrote in an email to High Times. “At the current rate of adult-use demand, we project to almost double our store traffic per month.”

Considering that New Jersey adult-use sales are projected to reach $2.4 billion by 2026, we know that this is only the beginning,” Ali continued. “To accommodate this increase in foot traffic, The Botanist in Williamstown and Egg Harbor Township have both proactively hired talent and anticipate increasing staff by 25%. We are excited to see labor and economic opportunities take off in New Jersey as we enter a new era of cannabis legalization.”

Jane Technologies, a cannabis e-commerce platform, reported that cannabis flower generated 49% of New Jersey’s recreational pot sales between April 21 and May 21, while 10% of sales were rung up for pre-rolled joints. On the day of launch, adult-use cannabis accounted for 86% of the state’s total pot sales, with only 14% going to medicinal cannabis.

Cannabis market data analyst Headset reported that based on the first week of sales in the Garden State and data from other states, New Jersey’s total annual cannabis market size is estimated to be worth between $1.3 billion and $2.9 billion.

New Dispensary Licenses Approved in New Jersey

The Cannabis Control Commission also reported on Tuesday that it had approved new licenses for cannabis businesses, including authorization for six dispensaries to begin sales of recreational weed soon. Regulators issued approval for three stores to be operated by Ayr Wellness, and one each for Ascend and TerrAscend.

“We are thrilled to be approved for adult-use sales in New Jersey and to have all three dispensaries cleared simultaneously to open for adult-use,” Jonathan Sandelman, founder and CEO of Ayr, said in a statement from the company. “To date, Central Jersey has the lowest number of dispensaries per capita, leaving its population under-served compared with the rest of the state. New Jersey is expected to become a highly influential state for the U.S. cannabis industry, and we are honored to help shape the market landscape from its early stages.”

The commission also approved licenses for 46 smaller cannabis cultivators, retailers, and manufacturers, bringing the total of such enterprises approved by New Jersey regulators in recent months to 148. Most of the businesses, however, will take up to a year or more to begin operations.

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Cannabis Now America’s Fifth Most Profitable Crop

With recreational pot now legal in 18 states, cannabis is a bona fide profitable cash crop. In November, Leafly Holdings, Inc. released its first ever “Cannabis Harvest Report” that examined “farm licenses and production in the 11 states that have legal adult-use stores open and operating.” 

“Cannabis is medically legal in 37 states, but for purposes of this report we focused on operating adult-use states—the 11 states where any adult can walk into a licensed store and buy cannabis—for salience to the general public,” the report’s authors wrote. “In those 11 adult-use states, cannabis supports 13,042 licensed farms that harvested 2,278 metric tons of marijuana last year. That amount would fill 57 Olympic swimming pools, or over 11,000 dump trucks stretching for 36 miles—and it’s returning $6,175,000,000 to American farmers every year.”

That figure of a little more than $6 billion “ranks (cannabis) as the fifth most valuable crop in the United States,” trailing corn ($61 billion), soybeans ($46 billion), hay ($17.3 billion), and wheat ($9.3 billion) but outpacing cotton ($4.7 billion), rice ($3.1 billion), and peanuts ($1.3 billion).

The report said that in five of the states where adult-use cannabis sales are legal—Alaska, Colorado, Massachusetts, Nevada, and Oregon—cannabis is actually the most valuable crop.

“In each of the 11 states with adult-use retail stores operating, cannabis ranks no lower than fifth in terms of agricultural crop value—often within two years of the first stores opening. In Alaska, the cannabis crop is worth more than twice as much as all other agricultural products combined,” the report’s authors wrote.

The goal of the harvest report, Leafly said, was to “quantify annual cannabis production in operational adult-use states, just like the USDA’s Economic Research Service does for all non-cannabis crops.”

“The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) tracks annual yields, prices, and estimated values for nearly every commercial crop grown in America. But the USDA does not track legal cannabis due to the plant’s status as a Schedule I drug,” the authors wrote. “That’s just weird because in legal adult-use states, cannabis is consistently one of the highest-value crops in the field.”

“We also believe it’s time to end the stigma attached to cannabis farming. Far too many state agricultural agencies and policymakers still treat cannabis growers with contempt,” they continued. “Some right-to-farm laws specifically exclude cannabis farming. Most cannabis farmers must—by law—hide their crops from public view, as if the mere sight of a fan leaf might induce intoxication. These unfair and unnecessary measures are taken against a legal crop that’s one of the top agricultural products in every adult-use state. Cannabis farmers are farmers, period.”

The report’s findings echo a study released last month. That research, which came via the Marijuana Policy Project, found that the 11 states with licensed adult-use cannabis retailers generated more than $3.7 billion in total revenue in 2021.

That figure amounted to a revenue increase of 34% from recreational cannabis in those states compared with 2020.

“The legalization and regulation of cannabis for adults has generated billions of dollars in tax revenue, funded important services and programs at the state level, and created thousands of jobs across the country. Meanwhile, the states that lag behind continue to waste government resources on enforcing archaic cannabis laws that harm far too many Americans,” said Toi Hutchinson, the president and CEO of the Marijuana Policy Project, who added that the findings serve as “further evidence that ending cannabis prohibition offers tremendous financial benefits for state governments.”

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New Record Set for 4/20 Sales, According to Data from Akerna

Sales data was released by Akerna on April 26 in a flash report, which shared that the industry collected a total of $154.4 million in combined recreational and medical cannabis sales. Akerna reports that 2021 sales records previously held the record for most cannabis sales on 4/20.

In the weekend following up to 4/20 (April 15-April 20), retail sales varied greatly. The highest sales day, other than 4/20, was Friday, April 15 at $94.3 million, and the lowest was Sunday, April 17 at $38.9 million. The entire weekend netted a total of $485.3 million.

Akerna originally released a prediction report on April 12, projecting that cannabis sales on 4/20 would hit $130 million, and that total weekend sales would rise up to $494 million. The company’s projections were very close to early sales data. “Using our historical Akerna data, we released a prediction report that the period around 420 would bring in a total of $494 million, only –1.79% variance from the actual sales of $485.3 million,” said Akerna Business Intelligence Architect James Ahrendt. “This is a testament to the power of our data analytics. By leveraging data-driven insights, cannabis businesses can make strategic predictions and decisions for their businesses.”

Akerna was formed when MJ Freeway and MTech merged in 2019, but it was initially founded in 2010 in response to the growing need for software to support “visibility, data and analytics, and robust inventory tracking that the cannabis industry requires to be successful.” Akerna’s most recent data is defined as a “flash report” that “looks at buying trends in the cannabis market as captured by Akerna’s flagship solution, MJ Platform,” Akerna shared in a press release.

The success of this year’s cannabis sales is impressive. Akerna mentions that the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division reported that it had the largest year for liquor sales, having surpassed $400 million for the first time, and in that perspective, showcases the strength of the cannabis industry.

More data is soon to come, it remains to be seen if Akerna’s other cannabis-related predictions were also accurate. The company projected that the hierarchy of product popularity, starting at the top with flower (48.11%), followed by cartridge/pens (31.66%), concentrates (11.63%), edibles (6.87%), infused non-edible (0.71%) and non-medicated (1.01%).

By demographic, the company predicted that 59.93% of consumers would be men, with 40.07% women. In age ranges, most consumers would be between 30-40 years old (30.43%), under 30 (28.38%), 40-50 (19.92%), 50-60 (11.49%), and over 60 (9.78%).

This data is echoed across the board with other data analytic companies, such as Headset, which shared that sales in U.S. cannabis dispensaries were up by 148% on 4/20 compared to other days leading up to the holiday. Canada sales grew as well, as the average cannabis stores increasing in sales by 65%. Headset also noted that cannabis-infused beverages rose considerably by 110% in Canada and by 176% in the U.S. as the top performing category. The “second place” product was attributed to edibles in Canada (with 83% sales growth) and concentrates in the U.S. (with 155% sales growth).

Although most states have not released any preliminary sales data, Michigan’s Cannabis Regulatory Agency Director Andrew Brisbo shared some information about the success of his state’s 4/20 sales on Twitter on April 21. “Consumers purchased over 2.3 tons of marijuana flower in MI retailers yesterday. Initial data shows overall sales of flower on 4/20 in 2022 were up 242% from the same day in 2021 (which were up 444% vs 2020).” He also followed with an estimation of pounds sold in the last three years in Michigan: 2022 (4,619 pounds), 2021 (1,912 pounds) and 2020 (430 pounds).

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Montana Adult-Use Sales Top $43 Million For First Quarter of Year

Three months in, the new adult-use cannabis program in Montana has generated tens of millions of dollars in sales, netting $8.7 million in tax revenue.

That comes via the state’s Department of Revenue, which detailed recreational pot sales in the state for the first quarter of the year.

In total, the adult-use market that launched at the start of the year has produced $43,537,110.29 in sales. For comparison, the state’s medical cannabis program generated $29,373,731.81 worth of sales during the same time period.

Montana voters legalized recreational cannabis for adults during the 2020 election, one of four states to end pot prohibition on the ballot that year (Arizona, South Dakota and New Jersey were the other three).

Getting the program ready in time for the start of this year was tight.

Officials in the state didn’t propose their final rules to govern the new regulated cannabis marketplace until October, leaving the Department of Revenue very little time to iron out all the regulations.

“The deadlines are aggressive,” Kristan Barbour, administrator of the Department of Revenue’s Cannabis Control Division, said at the time. “Really, the rules are our biggest challenge.”

“Our focus was really to be business-friendly and to try to work with the industry in a fashion that makes the rules adaptable to their current business structure and that they’ll be able to evolve into without a whole lot of pain,” Barbour added.

But despite the time constraints, the regulated cannabis market was open for business as scheduled on New Year’s Day.

Local television station KTVH reported that an “estimated 380 dispensaries in 29 counties are now able to sell marijuana to both medical and recreational customers.” In the program’s opening weekend at the beginning of January, Montana reported more than $1.5 million in cannabis sales.

The legalization effort in the United States has been buoyed by the economic incentives of regulating sales of pot. A report issued this week by the Marijuana Policy Project drove that point home, revealing that states that legalized adult-use cannabis sales generated more than $3.7 billion in total revenue last year.

That figure represented a 34% uptick from 2020, when states with recreational pot sales generated $2,766,027,570 in revenue. Since 2014, states have generated $11.2 billion in tax revenue from adult-use cannabis sales, according to the Marijuana Policy Project.

“The legalization and regulation of cannabis for adults has generated billions of dollars in tax revenue, funded important services and programs at the state level, and created thousands of jobs across the country. Meanwhile, the states that lag behind continue to waste government resources on enforcing archaic cannabis laws that harm far too many Americans,” said Toi Hutchinson, the president and CEO of the Marijuana Policy Project, who said that the group’s findings serve as “further evidence that ending cannabis prohibition offers tremendous financial benefits for state governments.”

Legalization isn’t just about the money brought in, of course. States that have ended prohibition on pot have also sought to remedy the past injustices brought on by the War on Drugs.

Last month, the Montana Supreme Court issued temporary rules for procedures through which individuals may have past cannabis-related convictions expunged from their records.

The state’s new cannabis law says “anyone convicted of an offense that would now be legal in the state can petition to have their conviction removed from their record, get a lesser sentence for it or reclassify it to a lesser offense,” according to local television station KPAX.

In the rules laid out last month, the state Supreme Court made it clear that they may submit their request for expungement to the court where they were originally sentenced.

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States Made More Than 3.7 Billion in Recreational Pot Sales Last Year

States that have legalized recreational cannabis sales for adults collectively generated more than $3.7 billion in revenue last year, according to a new report from the Marijuana Policy Project.

The findings, released on Wednesday, amount to a 34% increase in revenue from adult-use sales compared to 2020 –– continuing an upward trajectory dating back to 2014, when recreational pot sales began in Colorado and Washington, the first two states to end prohibition on pot use for adults.

Today, 18 states have legalized adult-use cannabis sales. The latest report from the Marijuana Policy Project was based on sales figures from the 11 states that had licensed pot retailers open for business in 2021.

The total revenue tally of $3,715,994,252 does not include medical cannabis sales.

Toi Hutchinson, the president and CEO of the Marijuana Policy Project, said that the latest report provides “further evidence that ending cannabis prohibition offers tremendous financial benefits for state governments.”

“The legalization and regulation of cannabis for adults has generated billions of dollars in tax revenue, funded important services and programs at the state level, and created thousands of jobs across the country. Meanwhile, the states that lag behind continue to waste government resources on enforcing archaic cannabis laws that harm far too many Americans,” said Hutchinson, who left her post as a senior cannabis adviser to Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker late last year to take the helm at the advocacy organization.

The Marijuana Policy Project provided state-by-state revenue totals for last year’s recreational cannabis sales, with California raking it the most by far:

    •    Alaska: $28,900,231 

    •    Arizona: $153,824,757

    •    California: $1,294,632,799 

    •    Colorado: $396,157,005

    •    Illinois: $424,206,703

    •    Maine: $12,362,622

    •    Massachusetts: $227,474,842 

    •    Michigan: $209,912,278 

    •    Nevada: $159,885,501

    •    Oregon: $177,773,944 

    •    Washington: $630,863,570

Last year’s revenue total represented a big jump from 2020, which saw $2,766,027,570 in recreational pot revenue generated. And that represented a significant increase from 2019, when there was $1,707,204,090 in revenue brought in.

According to the Marijuana Policy Project, “states reported a combined total of $11.2 billion in tax revenue from legal, adult-use cannabis sales since 2014 when sales began in Colorado and Washington state.”

As the group explained, “states with legal, adult-use cannabis sales, tax revenues can be allocated for social services and programs,” which can include “funding education, school construction, early literacy, public libraries, bullying prevention, behavioral health, alcohol and drug treatment, veterans’ services, conservation, job training, conviction expungement expenses, and reinvestment in communities that have been disproportionately affected by the war on cannabis, among many others.”

“Legalizing cannabis for adults has been a wise investment…In addition to revenue generated for statewide budgets, cities and towns have also generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in new revenue from local adult-use cannabis taxes,” the Marijuana Policy Project said in its analysis.

One state that will be included in next year’s report will be New Mexico, which just launched adult-use cannabis sales last week.

The state reported more than $3 million in recreational pot sales in the opening weekend.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has touted legalization as a potential economic driver for the state.

“As we look to rebound from the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, entrepreneurs will benefit from this great opportunity to create lucrative new enterprises, the state and local governments will benefit from the added revenue and, importantly, workers will benefit from the chance to land new types of jobs and build careers,” Lujan Grisham said last year after signing the legalization bill into law.

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Will New Mexico Have Enough Weed for the Launch of Adult-Use Sales?

With the launch of recreational cannabis sales in New Mexico slated for April 1, state officials say that cultivators are currently growing more than one million cannabis plants. But with the opening of dispensaries now only days away, industry insiders are questioning the state’s figures and wondering if there will be sufficient supplies of cannabis for consumers and medical patients.

This week, the state Regulation and Licensing Department’s Cannabis Control Division (CCD) announced that licensed cannabis growers have entered 1,013,178 mature plants into a statewide tracking system. The figure is more than twice as many plants as state officials estimate will be needed to serve the state’s 132,000 registered medical cannabis patients and recreational customers. Last summer, Linda Trujillo, superintendent of the Regulation and Licensing Department, told lawmakers that the cannabis industry will need about 500,000 plants to satisfy demand.

But some representatives of the state’s cannabis industry have questioned the number of plants in cultivation reported by state officials. Duke Rodriguez, president and CEO of New Mexico Top Organics-Ultra Health, told the Santa Fe New Mexican that the number is “impossible,” saying that it would require “football fields after football fields” of land to grow that many cannabis plants. Jason Greathouse, co-owner of Roswell-based Pecos Valley Production, also expressed disbelief at the state’s plant count.

“If there are a million cannabis plants in the state, I don’t know where they are,” said Greathouse. “Are they legal plants? Are they illegal plants?”

“I only have 3,000 plants in the ground,” he added, although he plans to have 20,000 by June.

Heather Brewer, a spokeswoman for the CCD, said on Tuesday that the state’s plant total is accurate, noting that it reflects information from the state’s seed-to-sale tracking system BioTrack. The data is entered by cannabis cultivators themselves, so “assuming all the information was appropriately entered, that number is accurate,” she said.

Regulators Increase Cannabis Production Limits

Early this year, CCD director Heather Thomson announced the adoption of emergency regulations to increase the plant limits for cannabis cultivators. Under the temporary rules, most growers were allowed to cultivate twice as many plants.

“We have been listening to producers, consumers and patients who are as committed as the Cannabis Control Division is to supporting a thriving cannabis industry in New Mexico,” Thomson said in January. “Doubling the plant count for licensed producers makes sense to ensure that everyone can maximize the benefits of a thriving cannabis industry.”

But Rodriquez said he does not believe that the state’s cultivators have sufficient cannabis to avoid shortages once adult-use dispensaries open on April 1.

“What we have today is what we are going to serve the market. Is it going to be enough? The answer is no,” Rodiguez said. “On day one it’s going to be a challenge as it’s going to be a challenge for maybe as long as 9 to 12 to 18 months.”

But regulators believe that there will be enough cannabis, with any temporary shortages being quickly rectified.

“I cannot imagine this nor do we anticipate stores selling completely out. Unless they were only selling one product,” Thomson said.

Brian Vicente, a founding partner of cannabis law firm Vicente Sederberg LLP, said that “New Mexico is entering an exciting new post-prohibition era” with next week’s launch of adult-use cannabis sales.

“The Governor and regulators have shown a keen interest in assisting this growth industry, while balancing the needs of various community members,” Vicente wrote in an email to High Times. “When a new state begins recreational sales, it is common to experience fluctuations in cannabis supply, as this new market settles.”

After speaking to a number of New Mexico producers, Vicente said that businesses are eager to supply the state’s new recreational cannabis market and are working to address concerns of potential product shortages.

“However, given the novel nature of this April 1 recreational launch, it’s certainly possible that demand will outstrip supply in the short term, and we may see limitations on purchase amounts or other measures to address high demand,” Vicente said.

Barbara Crawford, owner of medical pot cultivator Southwest Cannabis in Taos, New Mexico, has nearly doubled the capacity of her operation over the past two years to about 3,500 plants. But even with the new investments in production, she noted that it takes time to grow plants to maturity and harvest.

“That’s just the reality of this business,” Crawford told the Taos News. “I think we’re gonna get there eventually, but there’s going to be a shortage come June. I don’t care how many stores there are.”

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Headset Projects 4/20 Cannabis Sales to Increase by 100% in 2022

Data and market intelligence company Headset released a report on March 15, entitled “Understanding 4/20 cannabis holiday & consumer purchasing trends,” which projects that 2022 will be one of the biggest holidays yet for cannabis sales. The data is collected by Headset’s own software, which examines real-time sales from participating retailers. “April 20 has been the largest single day of retail cannabis sales each year since legalization (with one notable exception), so we understand that it’s a pretty darn significant day,” the report states in its introduction. “We also know that there are some consistent patterns on 4/20 each year: sales surge, customers enjoy massive discounts, and certain categories are more popular than others.”

The report analyzes data collected from various retailers in Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, as well as the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Ontario, British Columbia and Saskatchewan. Data is reviewed by analyzing sales that occurred during the last four weeks prior to April 20, 2021 (reviewing March 23, March 30, April 6 and April 13 of that year).

In the US, from March 2021 to February 2022, flower market share dropped from 46% to 41%, but saw an increase in market share for pre-rolls (25%), vape pens (14%) and edibles (11.9%). “Pre-Roll market share has been slightly more volatile, rising quickly through most of 2021, only to decrease during the end of the year and then increase again in the opening months of 2022. This is a great example of how much can change during a year of cannabis sales!” Between 2020 and 2021, major product categories that rose in percentage included Concentrates, Flower, Edible, Pre-Roll, Vapor Pens and Capsules. This excludes “Tincture & Sublingual” and Topical, which decreased by 4% and 33%. Beverages remained nearly constant between the two years, showing a 4/20 sales increase in 2020 at 184%, and in 2021 at 183%.

Gender and age group consumption data also shifted in the past year. Sales by female customers increased by 140% four weeks prior to 4/20, whereas male customers “had a slightly lower response” at 107%. In regards to age, Headset shared that younger customers were more excited about 4/20 than older customers. “Sales to the Generation Z group came pretty close to tripling on 4/20 last year, while sales to the Gen X and Baby Boomer groups didn’t even double. It would make sense that the continued caution of COVID may have influenced this trend,” the report explained. “Younger customers may have been more willing than older customers to risk exposure to the virus in order to celebrate 4/20 at a dispensary. However in our sales data we see a similar trend in 2019, which is before any of us had heard the word ‘coronavirus.’”

Headset concludes its report by offering advice to cannabis business owners who seek to benefit from the holiday. “Make sure you understand what your customers want and keep your shelves stocked appropriately, or you could risk losing loyal customers to the competition,” the report recommended. “You also want to make sure your strategy considers the potential of turning new or infrequent shoppers into loyalists and more frequent customers since the day sees significant lift in transaction volume by various customer groups.”

Another data company that covers the various intricacies of the cannabis industry, New Frontier Data, recently projected that cannabis sales could hit $51 billion by 2025. New Frontier Data Founder, Publisher and Executive Chair Giadha A. DeCarcer, explained in the introduction of that report that the past two years have shown immense growth in the industry across the board. “In just two years’ time, the number of countries having legalized some form of cannabis has increased from 50 to 70, and there are now 10 countries legalizing adult use, almost a twofold increase from 2019. As legal markets across the globe continue to evolve, we have found that regulatory structures and societal norms vary greatly, and each country, region and market require a nuanced approach to quantifying, qualifying and understanding them.”

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Ohio Medical Cannabis Program Has Made Almost $725 Million

The medical cannabis program in Ohio has generated about $725 million in revenue, according to a local news report.

The figure was noted by local television station WKYC, which cited the state’s Department of Commerce Medical Marijuana Control Program.

Ohio lawmakers passed a measure legalizing medical cannabis in 2016, but sales did not begin until three years later. 

“Ohio’s program has matured pretty quickly,” said Kate Nelson, regional general manager for Acreage Holdings, a cannabis operator, as quoted by WKYC. “I’m very impressed at how much it’s grown as far as patient access goes, recommending physicians and products available.”

The Buckeye State’s medical cannabis law covers a wide range of qualifying conditions: AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, cachexia, cancer, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy or another seizure disorder, fibromyalgia, glaucoma, hepatitis C, Huntington’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, pain that is either chronic and severe or intractable, Parkinson’s disease, positive status for HIV, post-traumatic stress disorder, sickle cell anemia, Spasticity, spinal cord disease or injury, terminal illness, Tourette syndrome, traumatic brain injury and ulcerative colitis.

Currently, there is an effort underway to add autism to that list of qualifying conditions. 

A bill that would permit patients with autism to receive medical cannabis treatment was introduced by a Republican and Democrat in the Ohio state House, and passed out of the chamber earlier this month by a vote of 73-13.

“This bill is a direct result of the needs and wants of the people of Ohio who are on the autism spectrum,” said Democratic state House Representative Juanita Brent, a co-sponsor of the proposal. “It will help ensure legal access to a plant-based solution free from costly prescription medications or other outdated and sometimes harmful treatments.”

A different bill introduced by a Republican state senator would open up the medical cannabis program even more, allowing physicians to “recommend marijuana for treatment for any condition if the physician, in the physician’s sole discretion and medical opinion, finds either of the following: that the patient’s symptoms may reasonably be expected to be relieved from medical marijuana” and “that the patient may otherwise reasonably be expected to benefit from medical marijuana.”

Either bill would represent the most significant change to the state’s medical cannabis program since it launched.

Those aren’t the only cannabis reform efforts afoot in Ohio. A group called the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol spearheaded a petition effort in the hopes of forcing Ohio lawmakers to act on a legalization bill.

The group submitted roughly 136,000 verified signatures from registered voters in January, which under Ohio state law, triggered a four-month window for legislators to consider the proposal. 

Republican lawmakers have thus far shown an unwillingness to take up the proposal, which brings the group to a Plan B scenario: after collecting another roughly 133,000 valid signatures or so, the legalization proposal could be brought to the Ohio ballot this November.

“We continue to be hopeful that the legislature will act on what we think is an issue that’s popular among Ohio voters,” said Tom Haren, a spokesman for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, as quoted by WKYC. “From our standpoint, it’s really about just recognizing the reality and about removing the criminal penalties for conduct that, you know, thousands of Ohioans are already engaging in.”

In February, Republican Matt Huffman, the president of the Ohio state Senate, did not mince words when asked about the proposal’s chances in his chamber.

“I don’t want anybody to misunderstand my position,” Huffman said. “I’m not going to bring it to the Senate floor. And if that means people want to go put it on the ballot, have at it.”

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