Doja Drops Bring Weed to the People

When the Hollywood Strain Premiere Party initially launched in the summer of last year, it was the place to be when it came to weed in Los Angeles. For an event that had no public advertising and for which the address and method for entering were a secret, attendance was regularly packed. Smokers looking for the best top-shelf weed mingled with industry insiders, all talking about the latest hot strain drops.

Doja Exclusive founder Ryan Bartholomew is no stranger to creating events and buzz. His brand has been at the bleeding edge of strain trends in California for years now. As far as hype in the industry goes, Doja is one of the biggest names out there. Originating from Sacramento, the brand is now based in Hollywood, California, aka the center of the weed world.

In a sense, both the pop-up model and selling directly to consumers harken back to an earlier time when excitement around legalization made the Prop 215 medical marijuana era in California a constantly buzzing scene of seshes and pop-up events. For Bartholomew, this approach to sales and marketing is just one part of a larger plan for Doja Exclusive to circumvent traditional retail as much as possible.

High Times Magazine, August 2023

For the most part, Bartholomew said, the dispensary is a fading concept that is becoming increasingly impractical for marketing weed. He says that few people these days are excited to go shop at a dispensary. Most importantly, getting fresh product on the shelves has become a huge challenge. The supply chain to the dispensary shelves can be slow and, after testing and distribution, the product often arrives less than fresh. If it doesn’t sell out immediately it languishes for months. For Doja the situation was unacceptable.

“The shit was old inventory and I’m thinking this isn’t good for what I do. I’d rather just let people know where I have the latest drops and then let them come out and get it directly from fresh batches that I’ve recently QC-ed and feel comfortable about,” he said.

It led Bartholomew to conceive the idea of a direct-to-consumer sales event, which manifested as the Hollywood Strain Premiere Party. The idea was simple: “Let’s do something where consumers can come grab new flavors and meet me in person. The weed will be good every time. We make sure of that,” Bartholomew said.

The event also allows Bartholomew to build hype around the new strains that Doja is bringing to market.

“I wanted to do something a little different since we had constant new phenos that we were rolling out with JBeezy [of Seed Junky Genetics] at the time. We also had the project in motion with Duke of Erb and some new strains dropping with Fiya Farmer,” he said.

Ryan Bartholomew of Dojo Exclusive and Juan Quesada of Backpack Boyz. Photo by Dan Wilson, @visithollyweed

Part of the early buzz of the event was that you could try new genetics that weren’t yet widely available, hence the “Strain Premiere.” It became the only place in the world to get the freshest and latest in Cali genetics.

“We had new genetics that no one else had,” Bartholomew said. “We were one of the few brands to put out new staples last year, so it was dope to be able to have a curated menu of flavors that were new and unique.”

Doja premiered strains such as Permanent Marker and Push Pop, and has released multiple phenotypes of Giraffe Puzzy so that fans can see the process of isolating a new strain. Doja has also dropped exclusive clones and seeds at the event, as well as street inspired merch that quickly sells out.

In 2021 Bartholomew held several industry-only mixers in cities such as Las Vegas and Miami, which were well attended by his many industry acquaintances. Last year he wanted to expand on the concept, but this time to create a space that was partly for the industry and partly for the consumer.

“I felt like I needed to focus more on connecting with the people that actually buy the product, not just other people in the industry. One of the ways that I knew I could get people out was to have these Hollywood events where I invite my industry friends like Wizard Trees, Sourwavez, Don Merfos and Gerb, Fiya Farmer. But at the same time, everyone else can come too,” he said.

 “So now smokers can talk to Wizard Trees and be like, ‘Yo, I really fuck with what you’re doing.’ That was always the idea behind it. That’s why from the very first one, I invited all those people.”

Sourwavez of King Sourwavez Genetics and Chico Shyne of John Doe Supply Co. Photo by Dan Wilson, @visithollyweed

The spot has always been a place to sight weed industry insiders and celebs. Big players like Sherbinskis, Terphogz, Mr. Gelatti, Super Dope/Fear of Boof, TenCo, Fiya Farmer, Wizard Trees, Fidel’s, Freddie Biggs, Ray Bama, and culture makers like Desto Dubb, Lil Meech, Lupe Fuentes, and Jewice have all been spotted there.

For Bartholomew, the success of the event shows that it’s time to start thinking about what comes next.

“We can always keep a consistent amount of people in there but we’re not looking to keep a consistent amount of people. We’re just looking to touch and go. We want something hot, new, fresh all the time,” he said.

Doja Exclusive has done direct-to-consumer pop-ups all over the U.S. and Europe, and he says that Hollywood is one of his smallest, crowd-wise. But it has gotten the most buzz, including regular press coverage.

“Does it help sales? Yes, it does boost sales all over the board. There are people in New York that are buying the product because they’re like, ‘Damn, those guys are having the Thursdays in Hollywood,’” Bartholomew said.

As for why his Hollywood event gets so much buzz, Bartholomew said that it’s all about the legacy and reputation of California weed.

“I think there’s just a fascination with Cali weed,” Bartholomew said. “We’re from the most influential place for cannabis. It’s like if you’re a fashion designer and you’re from Milan or a sommelier from Bordeaux.”

This article was originally published in the August 2023 issue of High Times Magazine.

The post Doja Drops Bring Weed to the People appeared first on High Times.

Connecticut Cannabis Sales Continue To Rise in August with $25 Million in Sales

New data on monthly cannabis sales in Connecticut shows that numbers have increased yet again. The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) said in a press release that between Aug. 1-31, the combined total of both adult-use cannabis and medical cannabis sales reached almost $25 million.

“The adult-use market recorded more than $14 million in sales during the month of August, while the medical marijuana market recorded almost $11 million in sales for the same period,” the press release stated.

Medical cannabis patients purchased 278,395 cannabis products (with an average price of $39.36), while recreational consumers purchased 354,700 (with an average price of $39.49).

By product type, most sales (about 53%) included flower, followed by vape cartridges (27%), edibles (10%), extracts (7%), and “other” (4%) which pertains to products such as pills, tinctures, topicals, and more.

Adult-use cannabis was initially signed into law by Gov. Ned Lamont in June 2021, making it the fourth state to legalize recreational cannabis. Sales were initially expected to begin in 2022, and more than 15,000 dispensary applications were received in May that year.

In January, Lamont announced that he would clear approximately 42,964 cannabis convictions, as required by the state legislation that legalized adult-use cannabis. “On Jan. 1, thousands of low-level cannabis convictions in Connecticut will be automatically erased due legislation we’ve enacted,” said Lamont. “Especially as employers seek to fill job openings, an old conviction for low-level possession should not hold someone back from their aspirations.”

Adult-use sales didn’t go live until January 2023, but the state collected $250,000 in sales on the first day with eight operational dispensaries. “Today marks a turning point in the injustices caused by the war on drugs, most notably now that there is a legal alternative to the dangerous, unregulated, underground market for cannabis sales,” Gov. Lamont said of the program’s success. “Together with our partners in the legislature and our team of professionals at the Department of Consumer Protection, we’ve carefully crafted a securely regulated market that prioritizes public health, public safety, social justice, and equity. I look forward to continuing our efforts to ensure that this industry remains inclusive and safe as it develops.”

For adult-use cannabis, sales in January reached a total of $5 million, followed by $7 million in February, $9.5 million in March, $10 million in April, $11.5 million in May, $12.5 million in June, $13 million in July, and finally, $14 million in August.

Medical cannabis was legalized by former Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, but sales tracking was not required and is not available prior to 2023. Now the state uses BioTrack for its seed-to-sale tracking data.

As seen in other states with both medical and adult-use cannabis, medical cannabis sales began to decrease the longer that adult-use sales are established. In January, $8 million in medical cannabis sales were collected, followed by $11.5 million in February, $12.5 million in March, and then a steady decrease in April with $11.5 million, May with $11 million, a slight increase above $11 million in June, followed by $10.6 million in July and finally $10.9 million in August.

In June, residents were finally permitted to start growing their own cannabis plants, up to six per home (three mature and three immature). “Adults who choose to grow their own cannabis should use safe and healthy gardening practices for growing any products they intend to consume,” said DCP Commissioner Bryan T. Cafferelli. “Plants should also be kept indoors, out of reach and out of sight from children and pets.”

According to the CT Insider, one of the state’s two cannabis testing laboratories is officially closed. The report stated that AltaSci Labs closed in March and its license became inactive, however the reason for this is “not due to any disciplinary or other action by the state,” according to DCP spokesperson Kaitlyn Krasselt.

The one remaining lab, Northeast Laboratories, is currently managing all incoming cannabis, which “continues to operate and test cannabis in Connecticut, and there has been no impact to the cannabis program.” However, some advocates believe that soon it will become an issue.

Recently, the California-based cannabis education college Oaksterdam University held a graduation for numerous Connecticut cannabis business owners. Oaksterdam received $1 million in a contract to provide an education specifically for Social Equity Council-approved students in an accelerated program.

CEO of Nautilus Botanicals, Luis Vega, shared insight about his experience in the program. “This was a valuable lesson,” Vega said. “This was awesome. There were growing pains. But I really do appreciate that the state put together a partnership with somebody.” Vega is currently working on opening two dispensaries, as well as two cultivation sites.

A total of 32 participants started the program, and 11 graduated (with eight more expected to graduate soon). As part of the deal for participation, graduates receive a 1.5% reduction off of their APR percentage rate.

Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz attended the graduation and told CT Insider that “the equity component of cannabis legalization is absolutely critical” in relation to the state’s cannabis industry. “Now we’ve got the opportunity to see entrepreneurs and small businesses hopefully develop into big businesses with people of color, women of color,” Bysiewicz added. 

The post Connecticut Cannabis Sales Continue To Rise in August with $25 Million in Sales appeared first on High Times.

Arkansas Medical Cannabis Sales Set To Surpass Last Year’s Record Of $270M

The people of Arkansas spent $23.2 million on medical cannabis in July, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports. According to the Department of Finance and Administration, such recent spending is set to surpass the state’s record sales from last year. Scott Hardin, a spokesman for the Department of Finance, said July’s sales numbers demonstrate that Arkansas will exceed 2022’s record medical marijuana sales, which reached $270 million.

Arkansas medical marijuana patients spent $164.6 million on cannabis from January to July of 2023, which marks a $7.3 million increase from the first seven months of 2022. That figure accounts for a whopping 5,157 pounds of bud, bringing the year’s total to 34,214.

“If sales remain consistent for the next several months, we will complete 2023 with total sales reaching more than $280 million,” Hardin shared in a news release. “The state collected $2.5 million in tax revenue from medical marijuana in July. This brings total medical marijuana tax revenue in 2023 to $18.5 million, and $108 million since the first dispensary opened in May 2019.”

July came in fifth in 2023 for sales compared with other months, showing that even an impressive $23.2 million isn’t the biggest figure Arkansas can brag about. The highest-earning month of the year is March, which raked in $25 million worth of sales. The state’s lowest earning month of the year still comes in at $22.4 million, Hardin shares. 

However, while sales are up, the tax revenue generated does not necessarily reflect sale numbers. For example, the $18.5 million in tax revenue the state has collected from medical marijuana sales through July 2023 is slightly down from 2022’s figures around this year, which clocked in at $18.7 million.

The highest-earning dispensaries that sold the most medical marijuana were Suite 443 of Hot Springs, selling 551.7 pounds in July, and Natural Relief Dispensary in Sherwood, which sold 462.1 pounds.

Arkansas voters legalized medical marijuana through a constitutional amendment in 2016. The state saw its first dispensaries open shop in 2019. Since then, as these figures reflect, there’s been a gradual and continual increase in the number of medical patients. The current figure clocks in at 94,059, according to the latest numbers from the Department of Health. This number is up from the 88,893 registered cardholders in 2022. 

Despite such gains in medical sales, in Arkansas, the state has yet to embrace recreational marijuana. Back in November of 2022, voters rejected Issue 4, a measure that would have legalized adult-use cannabis, to the dismay of Arkansas cannabis advocates who worked so hard to push the bill through.  

Those pushing the failed measure were led by Responsible Growth Arkansas, an advocacy group concerned with reforming drug law, prison sentencing, and healthcare research. The bill would have amended the constitution to authorize the possession, personal use, and consumption of cannabis by adults 21 and over, as well as legalizing the cultivation and sale of cannabis by licensed commercial facilities.

However, the measure did face criticism. Some complained that it didn’t include expungement provisions or allow for home growing. There were also questions about the method of implementation. As a constitutional amendment, it would take a lot of work to make those changes further down the line. As a result, even die-hard pro-cannabis reformers weren’t over the moon excited about Issue 4. 

And Arkansas is a conservative state, making any change towards cannabis reform trickier, even in a time where some conservatives show bi-partisan support for cannabis and psychedelic legalization. State officials, such as Arkansas’ secretary of state, challenged the measure’s validity.

While those in support submitted more than the number of signatures required for the proposal to qualify for the ballot, the state Board of Election commissioners still rejected the measure, arguing that the ballot title didn’t adequately explain what the measure meant to voters. 

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson even held a joint press briefing on October 31, 2022, at the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce in Little Rock to speak out against Issue 4. “This puts us at a disadvantage in [the] recruiting industry if Issue 4 passes,” Hutchinson said, citing how workplace drug testing would be affected.

So, for now, Arkansas only has (quite profitable) medical cannabis under Amendment 98. Hutchinson’s concern regarding workplace drug testing comes at a time when changes regarding drug testing are sweeping the nation. 

For instance, The Michigan Civil Service Commission recently passed a change that would end drug screenings for cannabis for applicants for many state jobs. This rule would overturn previous state policy that automatically disqualified applicants to state positions that tested positive for cannabis (although applicants to some jobs will still be required to pass a marijuana screening before hiring). 

Additionally, as noted regarding bipartisan support in the country, despite what the Republicans in Arkansas believe, Matt Gaetz of Florida recently proposed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would cease cannabis testing for military members. 

The post Arkansas Medical Cannabis Sales Set To Surpass Last Year’s Record Of $270M appeared first on High Times.

Michigan Cannabis Sales Hit Record High, Profits Another Story

According to the most recent monthly report from the Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency, Michigan cannabis sales reached a record in July, recording $276 million in sales, with the lion’s share of sales coming from adult-use cannabis. Local cannabis businesses say they aren’t making much in profits, however.

The state will likely surpass the $3 billion mark in revenue for the first time in 2023. It reinforces the importance of the state’s cannabis market. If the trend continues, Michigan will become the second largest market in the nation after California. 

But insiders say making a profit in this industry is an entirely different scenario, nearly impossible for businesses following the rules. In addition, the constant flow of new licenses is increasing competition to unworkable levels.

“It’s kind of a race to the bottom, as they call it,” Beau Whitney, senior economist for the National Cannabis Industry Association, told Bridge Michigan. “Prices are going down, down and down because there’s so much competition, but at some point, prices won’t be able to go down any further.” 

Some locals say the current system won’t work for long under the current circumstances.

“I think that big corporate stores thought they could throw money at this and just keep throwing money at it, and it would work and it’s not working. That’s why most of your major dispensaries … are for sale,” said Jerry Millen, owner of The Greenhouse, a dispensary located in Walled Lake.

The incoming flow of new licenses doesn’t seem to be helping existing businesses much. During the past month, Michigan received 97 applications for adult-use use licenses, and issued 87 new licenses. Seventeen of the licenses were designated for class C growers, with a limit of up to 1,500 plants, per state regulations

A 10% excise tax was imposed on retailers in addition to a 6% sales tax after adult-use was legalized in Michigan in 2018. Thanks to high production costs and oversaturation of the market, consumers are happy but businesses are not. 

That average price of $99 for one ounce of adult-use cannabis is much cheaper than it was this time last year. The price for an ounce of medical cannabis is only slightly higher. 

A Boon for the Michigan Economy

While small businesses aren’t likely making much profit, local governments, however, are loving it. Tens of millions of dollars in revenue are being allocated to local governments across Michigan as a result of the state’s adult-use cannabis industry. 

According to FOX 2 Detroit, “Only 30% of total adult-use sales go to local governments, with the other 70% going to schools and roads. When contributions from last year are paired next to figures from 2021 and 2020, they show an industry that shows no signs of slowing down.”

Michigan voters legalized adult-use cannabis in 2018, when they approved Proposal 1, which made it legal for adults 21 and older to consume cannabis, and paved the way for a regulated cannabis market that launched in 2019. 

But despite strong sales numbers, Michigan, like other regulated cannabis markets, has become oversupplied with pot.

Illegal cannabis sales continue to thrive in the state, and Michigan regulators are taking action. Last October, The Detroit News reported that Brian Hanna, the acting director of the Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency, told assembled media that “the agency is planning actions that will expose bad actors and serve as a warning to other regulated businesses.”

The post Michigan Cannabis Sales Hit Record High, Profits Another Story appeared first on High Times.

Uruguay’s Historic Legalization: Six Years, And More Than 10 Million Grams Later

This month marks six years since Uruguay launched legal recreational sales in the country, and newly released data illuminates how successful the cannabis program has been. 

The South American country’s Institute for Regulation and Control of Cannabis released the figures, which were detailed by Forbes.

Cannabis pharmacies in Uruguay “have sold 10,693,210 grams of marijuana between July 19, 2017, and July 19, 2023,” according to the news outlet.

“Currently, 61,509 registered individuals are eligible to access pharmacies for marijuana purchases. Moreover, there are three companies producing cannabis, and the sale of marijuana is authorized in 37 pharmacies distributed across ten departments throughout the country,” Forbes reported. “Moreover, there are presently 14,592 registered users for domestic cultivation and 10,486 members of cannabis clubs across 306 clubs.”

Uruguay made history nearly ten years ago, when it became the first country to legalize all stages of the cannabis process –– growing, sale and smoking –– in December of 2013.

Reuters at the time called it “a pioneering social experiment that will be closely watched by other nations debating drug liberalization.”

In fact, Uruguay had decriminalized possession of cannabis all the way back in 1974. But cultivation and sales of pot were not made legal until the passage of the 2013 law, which was framed as a bid to stymie the power of drug traffickers in the country. 

As Reuters explained at the time, although other “countries have decriminalized marijuana possession and the Netherlands allows its sale in coffee shops,” Uruguay became “the first nation to legalize the whole chain from growing the plant to buying and selling its leaves.”

Legal marijuana sales began in July of 2017, when the new law made “pharmacists into dealers,” as The New York Times put it. 

But as the Times explained back then, the new cannabis law’s implementation was not all hunky dory. The law had been “contentious for many Uruguayans,” noting that the “thorniest part of it — establishing a system for the state-controlled production and sale of marijuana — took years to work out.”

“Government officials worried that allowing a cannabis scene like the one in Amsterdam would make Uruguay a pariah among neighboring countries wary about legalization. So they developed an onerous registration process and ruled out marketing the country as a mecca for pot tourism. Under the law, only Uruguayan citizens and legal permanent residents are allowed to purchase or grow pot,” the Times reported then.

A report in 2020 found that legalization had not led to a spike in cannabis consumption among teenagers in Uruguay. 

The study, published in the International Journal of Drug Policy, found that there was “no evidence of an impact on cannabis use or the perceived risk of use” among youth in the country.

“Our findings provide some support for the thesis that Uruguay’s state regulatory approach to cannabis supply may minimize the impact of legalization on adolescent cannabis use,” the study said. “At the same time, our study period represents a period of transition: pharmacy access, by far the most popular means of access, was not available until the summer of 2017. Additional study will be important to assess the longer-term impacts of the fully implemented legalization regime on substance use outcomes.”

The study, which was billed as the “first empirical evidence on [the law’s] impacts on adolescent use of cannabis and related risks,” likewise found that there was not “an increase in student perception of cannabis availability” following legalization.

The post Uruguay’s Historic Legalization: Six Years, And More Than 10 Million Grams Later appeared first on High Times.

Mastercard Announces Ban On Debit Card Transactions For Weed Purchases

Payment processing powerhouse Mastercard this week revealed the company is taking steps to prevent PIN-based debit card transactions for marijuana purchases, dealing a blow to a regulated cannabis industry already struggling with limited payment options for consumers.

On Wednesday, Bloomberg reported that Mastercard, the world’s second-largest payment solutions provider, had informed financial institutions and other payment processors to stop allowing marijuana purchases to be processed with debit cards. Because of tight federal restrictions on banks that do business with marijuana companies, even those legal under state law, most financial institutions decline to provide common banking services including credit card processing to such businesses.

In a statement, a spokesman for Mastercard said that the action was taken after it learned that cannabis dispensaries were accepting debit cards for pot purchases. 

“As we were made aware of this matter, we quickly investigated it,” the spokesman said. “In accordance with our policies, we instructed the financial institutions that offer payment services to cannabis merchants and connect them to Mastercard to terminate the activity.” 

“The federal government considers cannabis sales illegal, so these purchases are not allowed on our systems,” the Mastercard spokesperson added.

Dispensaries Look For New Solutions

As Mastercard’s shutdown of debit card purchases for weed began to take hold last week, cannabis dispensaries that had been using the process began to look for new payment solutions. Peter Su, director of specialty banking at Hanover Bank, has headed cannabis banking programs and served as a payment processing consultant for the industry. He said that he began fielding calls about the situation last week and is hearing from even more companies this week.

“My phones are ringing off the hook — people are asking for payment alternatives,” Su said.

Last year, some of the largest processors of ATM transactions, such as NCR Corp.’s Columbus Data Services, shut down another payment processing system popular with dispensaries known as cashless ATMs that let consumers use their debit card to process a cash withdrawal, which would then be used to pay for cannabis. Tyler Beuerlein, chief strategic business development officer of Safe Harbor Financial Services, a company that provides banking and lending to cannabis businesses, said the crackdown on electronic payment options leaves few alternatives for licensed marijuana retailers to conduct business with their customers.

“More people have migrated to PIN debit in the last year and a half as the cashless ATMs have had issues. If the PIN debit solutions go away, it leaves people back with ACH or cash,” said Beuerlein.

But many consumers consider ACH (automated clearing house) payments, which require purchasers to share their bank account and routing number with the dispensary, to be cumbersome and potentially risky. And cannabis operators would prefer to limit the transactions conducted in cash, which can leave retailers open to robbery and other theft.

Industry Seeks Legislative Solution

A proposed federal legislative solution, the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, would give cannabis companies legal access to traditional business banking services including credit card processing. But while the bill has bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress and has been approved by the House of Representatives on seven separate occasions, it has yet to receive a vote in the U.S. Senate.

Matt Darin, the CEO of Curaleaf, one of the world’s largest cannabis companies by revenue, said that the news about Mastercard’s crackdown on debit transactions for cannabis purchases “illustrates once again the urgent need for the federal government to recognize the cannabis industry as the tax-paying, job-providing sector that it is.” 

“Our industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the U.S., generating more than $3.7 billion in state tax revenue in 2022 and employing over 428,000 Americans,” Darin wrote in an email to High Times. “Furthermore, cannabis is legal for medical purposes in 40 states, for recreational purposes in 23 states, and an overwhelming 88% of Americans say that cannabis should be legalized across the country. When will the laws catch up?”

The post Mastercard Announces Ban On Debit Card Transactions For Weed Purchases appeared first on High Times.

Week in Review: Celebrity Cannabis Brands Dominate California Market

In this week’s cannabis news round-up, data shows celebrity cannabis brands are outselling traditional brands in California; Maryland’s booming cannabis market is poised to reach billion-dollar status; Maine reports record-breaking adult-use cannabis sales in June; and Scotland pushes for drug decriminalization, but the British government rejected the proposal.

Photo courtesy of Mirayo by Santana

Data Shows Celebrity Cannabis Brands Outshine Traditional Brands

New data suggests that celebrity cannabis brands are making a big impact in the California market and outperforming traditional brands, according to insights from cannabis analytics provider Headset.

Popular celebrity cannabis brands, including Cann, Houseplant and Mirayo by Santana, experienced higher sales than their traditional counterparts in California during the first quarter of the year. The report also shows that not only are celebrity brands selling well, but they’re also offering their products at a lower price point compared to traditional cannabis brands. While traditional brands charge around $23.14 per item, celebrity cannabis brands can offer their products at a more affordable price.

During the first three months of 2023, Headset analyzed more than 20 celebrity cannabis brands alongside a representative sample of more than 1,300 traditional cannabis brands. The data revealed that while traditional brands averaged $26,591 in monthly sales, at least nine celebrity brands surpassed that figure, with five of them generating monthly revenues exceeding $100,000.

Investment firm Tress Capital was among the first to recognize the potential of celebrity cannabis brands, particularly those deeply ingrained in cannabis culture, who already had loyal fan bases and significant social media followings.

According to Tress Capital President David Hess, authenticity plays a crucial role in the success of celebrity cannabis brands. The company’s portfolio of celebrity cannabis brands includes Tyson 2.0 by former boxer Mike Tyson, ranked third in California with median monthly sales of $290,730; Highsman by former NFL superstar Ricky Williams, ranked ninth with $51,133 in monthly sales; and Tical by rapper and actor Method Man, ranked tenth with $50,565 in average monthly sales.

Missouri Cannabis Sales Cannabis Leaves with Money
PHOTO New Africa

Maryland’s Booming Cannabis Market Poised to Reach Billion-Dollar Status

During the state’s initial week of retail cannabis sales, Maryland experienced a significant milestone, with combined medical and adult-use cannabis sales reaching $20.9 million. The sales were evenly split between adult-use and medical cannabis, with medical sales slightly outweighing the adult-use category.

The peak of sales occurred over the July 4 weekend, where total sales reached $10,429,736 on July 4 and $4,518,377 on July 5, according to data from the Maryland Cannabis Administration. Adult-use sales dominated the weekend, with $3,558,947 in sales compared to $959,430 in medical cannabis sales.

Maryland imposes a 9% tax on adult-use cannabis sales, with 35% of the proceeds directed towards a community investment and repair fund established under the legalization law. The fund aims to support communities that have been disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition, Andrew Garrison, a representative of the Maryland Cannabis Administration, says.

Maryland is reportedly planning to issue licenses for social equity businesses in January to promote equitable participation and economic opportunities within the local cannabis industry. 

Maine State Capitol Grounds, Augusta, ME. Photo courtesy of the Cultural Landscape Foundation

Maine Reports Record-Breaking Adult-Use Cannabis Sales in June

Maine’s adult-use cannabis market reached an impressive $18.4 million in June, as revealed by data from the Maine Office of Cannabis Policy (OCP). This figure surpassed the previous record of $17.4 million set in the previous month, showcasing the continued growth and popularity of the industry.

Dispensaries across the state sold approximately 5,270 pounds of cannabis during June, reflecting the strong demand among consumers. Although cannabis was legalized in Maine by voter approval in 2016, retail sales didn’t commence until July 2022, making these recent sales achievements even more noteworthy.

According to OCP data, there were 322,169 transactions at adult-use dispensaries in June, with an average price-per-gram of flower at $7.69. Year-to-date adult-use sales have already totaled an impressive $97,408,138, with 1,671,054 transactions. If this trend continues, 2023 adult-use sales in Maine are expected to surpass the total sales of $158.9 million recorded last year.

Flower remains the most popular product category, accounting for approximately $11 million in sales during June. Concentrates followed closely behind, with sales reaching nearly $4.5 million, while infused products recorded sales of nearly $3 million. Plant sales made up the remaining portion of the market.

Throughout this year, Maine has maintained an average price per gram of flower at $7.90. The state has licensed a robust network of cannabis businesses, including 218 retail stores, 150 cultivators, 116 manufacturers and five testing laboratories, facilitating a diverse and thriving market.

However, recent findings from an OCP survey indicate that the rapid growth of the retail market has impacted Maine’s system of medical cannabis caregivers. More than 1,350 caregivers have left the program between the end of 2021 and the end of January 2023, highlighting the evolving landscape and potential challenges in the industry.

PHOTO Jorge Franganillo

Scotland Pushes for Drug Decriminalization, But UK Government Rejects the Proposal

Scotland is making a bold move to decriminalize drugs to address its alarming overdose death rates, among the highest in Europe. However, the proposal has been swiftly rejected by the Conservative UK government in London, which maintains its firm stance on drug laws.

The Scottish government, led by the Scottish National Party, believes that removing criminal penalties for drug possession will enable the implementation of evidence-based harm reduction services, promoting safety. Scotland’s drug overdose death rate is three times higher than the rest of the UK, with nearly 1,100 drug-related deaths recorded last year alone.

Elena Whitham, the Scottish drugs minister, emphasized that the current drug laws have proven ineffective in curbing drug use and preventing harm. Citing the example of Portugal, which decriminalized drug possession over two decades ago, the Scottish government aims to improve lives by freeing individuals from the fear of seeking treatment and support. Furthermore, the Scottish government intends to explore the establishment of supervised drug consumption rooms and regulated drug supply as part of its reform efforts. Whitham warned that without significant changes, Scotland faces a worsening crisis fueled by synthetic opioids and street benzodiazepines.

Image courtesy of Headset

Dabs of Data: Sales on 7/10

The cannabis concentrates market experienced a significant boost in sales both in the US and Canada on 7/10, reports Headset. In the US, sales saw a remarkable increase of 10.7% compared to a typical Monday, while in Canada, the increase was slightly lower at 7.3%.

Among the different product categories, concentrates and vape pens were the top performers in the US market, with sales increasing by 79.3% and 14.3%, respectively. These categories also had the highest average discounts, with concentrates at 34.3% and vape pens at 26.4%. In Canada, however, despite having the highest average discount, concentrates saw a modest sales lift of only 6.3%, ranking as the third lowest increase among all categories.

The post Week in Review: Celebrity Cannabis Brands Dominate California Market appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Massachusetts Pot Sales Reach $152M Last Month, $4.74B Since 2018

The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) recently released a report of its latest recreational cannabis sales data. In June, the state collected $132.8 million in recreational cannabis sales (the highest per-month amount for the year of 2023 so far), and $19 million in medical cannabis sales. Since the state’s adult-use cannabis sales began in November 2018, it has collected a total of $4.74 billion in adult-use sales.

According to a graph dictating the popularity of specific cannabis products, flower is the most common type by a wide margin with over $2.9 billion in sales since 2018. This is followed by vaping products ($857 million), edibles ($685 million), pre-rolls ($622 million), and concentrates ($367 million).

The report also includes plant cultivation activity, updated as of July 7 but only reflects plant data up to April 2023. A total of 3,400 plants have been harvested up until that point, with 983 plants destroyed (although reasons for this were not listed).

The state is still working out how to regulate both cannabis consumption, as well as other substances such as psilocybin. While the state’s 2016 ballot question that legalized cannabis set the foundation for licensed cannabis cafes, regulators have yet to agree on how to move forward with consumption lounges. In May, Massachusetts regulators vetoed a pilot program that would have tested social cannabis cafes in 12 communities.

However, some cities such as Salem, Massachusetts became the sixth city in the state to end arrests for possession of psilocybin. Advocacy groups such as Bay Staters for Natural Medicine are working to push this change in other towns including Somerville, Cambridge, Northampton, Easthampton, and Amherst. Separately, a Massachusetts-based Temescal Wellness also recently made waves for being one of the first cannabis businesses to make April 20 a paid holiday for its employees.

Massachusetts’ record high sales reflect growing demand for cannabis in the eastern U.S. alongside other states that are also seeing success or launching their own legal cannabis industries. Its southern neighbor of Connecticut has also seen record sales, collecting more than $23 million during the month of May. In June, Connecticut also officially launched legal home cultivation, allowing adults to grow up to six plants at home under state law.

Maryland’s legal cannabis industry recently began on July 1, and collected more than $20 million during its first week. Vermont recently reported high sales in February with $6.4 million.

Maine recreational cannabis sales began in 2020, but in January the state announced that it has collected $158.9 million in 2022, which is nearly twice the amount that was collected in 2021. However, more recent reports show that more than 1,300 caregivers have left the state’s medical cannabis program since recreational legalization began.

New Hampshire legislators recently rejected a cannabis legalization bill (which caused one representative to switch from Republican to Independent), but the state did recently extend medical cannabis access to outsiders including both U.S. citizens as well as Canadians. Rhode Island is also slowly but surely making its way into the future by officially switching from paper applications to digital for medical cannabis. Not to mention how New York is moving quickly to open up new cannabis dispensaries amidst an oversupply of cannabis flower.

The post Massachusetts Pot Sales Reach $152M Last Month, $4.74B Since 2018 appeared first on High Times.

Massachusetts Cannabis Sales Reach Record High in June

Massachusetts Cannabis Sales Reach Record High in June

Summary: Massachusetts experienced a record-breaking month in June 2023, with total cannabis sales reaching just under $152 million. The state’s dispensaries reported $132.8 million in recreational cannabis sales and an additional $19 million in medical sales. Flower products continue to dominate the market, and prices have continued to drop in the state.

Latest News & Insights:

Want more insights on cannabis and psychedelics? Subscribe below!

Massachusetts Cannabis Sales Hits New High In June

The cannabis industry in Massachusetts experienced a record-breaking month in June, with total sales reaching just under $152 million, according to state figures. The state’s dispensaries reported $132.8 million in recreational cannabis sales and an additional $19 million in medical sales, bringing the total to $151.8 million. This data was reported by the state’s Cannabis Control Commission.

May wasn’t a great month for cannabis sales…

Flower products continue to dominate the market, with sales of cannabis buds reaching $12.5 million in the week of June 26 to July 2. The second most popular product category was vape cartridges, which sold $6.3 million worth of product, followed by pre-rolled joints, bringing in $5 million that week.

June was the top-selling month of the year so far for recreational cannabis, with March coming in second at $129.4 million. Medical sales, on the other hand, were slightly down from the previous three months, despite having plateaued somewhat.

Since the launch of the recreational marijuana market in 2018, Massachusetts has sold a total of $4.74 billion in recreational marijuana and an additional $1.08 billion in medical sales since 2019, as reported by the CCC.

Hit a new record

Interestingly, prices have continued to drop in the state. The average price of a gram of cannabis was just $5.82, and the average ounce was $164.97 in June, the lowest the agency has ever recorded since it began keeping industry statistics. In January, the average price per gram was $7.11, and a year ago in June 2022, it was $10.58. This trend of falling prices could be a significant factor in the increased sales figures.

[Source: Green Market Report]


Subscribe to our newsletter

We hope you enjoyed this news update. Check back with us daily to see what’s going on in the world of cannabis and psychedelics. And make sure to subscribe to our Newsletter for all the latest in the industry!

Simply place your email below:



AI Disclaimer: This news update was created using AI tools. PsychePen is an AI author who is constantly improving. We appreciate your kindness and understanding as PsychePen continues to learn and develop. Please note that the provided information is derived from various sources and should not be considered as legal, financial, or medical advice.

An interesting new model…

The post Massachusetts Cannabis Sales Reach Record High in June appeared first on Cannadelics.

Maryland’s First Week of Adult-Use Cannabis Sales Tops $20 Million

Maryland’s first week of regulated sales of adult-use cannabis totaled more than $20 million dollars, only eight months after voters legalized recreational marijuana in the 2022 general election. Legal sales of adult-use cannabis began on July 1, with nearly 100 of Maryland’s medical marijuana dispensaries now licensed to sell cannabis to all adults aged 21 and older.

During the first seven days of adult-use cannabis sales, retailers sold $20.9 million in licensed cannabis products, according to data from the Maryland Cannabis Administration. About half of that total, $10.4 million, was generated during the opening weekend of sales.

By comparison, the state’s medical marijuana dispensaries averaged $27.6 million in monthly sales for the first six months of 2023. The highest monthly revenue for the state’s medical marijuana dispensaries was in June, with a total of $42.6 million in sales for the month.

The Maryland Cannabis Administration projects that the state’s first year of recreational marijuana sales will generate up to $600 million for the newly legal industry. And with adult-use cannabis products taxed at a rate of 9%, the state stands to take in about $54 million, which will be spent on the regulatory costs of the program, community reinvestment, public health initiatives and funding for local governments.

Darren Weiss, president of Verano Holdings, the operator of four Zen Leaf retail locations in Maryland, said that he is “encouraged by the strong start to adult use cannabis sales in Maryland.”

“We often see an uptick in demand following the initial launch of adult use sales, and with sales in Maryland predicted to reach $1 billion by 2025, there is a significant opportunity for cannabis businesses and the overall economy to benefit,” Weiss said in a statement to the Baltimore Banner.

Maryland Voters Legalized Recreational Weed Last Year

In November 2022, Maryland voters legalized recreational marijuana with the passage of Question 4, a state referendum that was approved with nearly two-thirds of the vote. In April, lawmakers passed legislation to regulate adult-use cannabis production and sales beginning on July 1, followed by the signing of the bill by Governor Wes Moore in early May. Under the measure, all adults in Maryland age 21 and up with proper identification will be allowed to purchase regulated marijuana products including cannabis flower, vapes, gummies and more, with sales beginning at the state’s existing medical marijuana retailers.

The legislation also changed the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission, which regulated the production and sale of medical marijuana, to the Maryland Cannabis Administration. Will Tilburg, the acting director of the new agency, said that regulated sales of cannabis in Maryland are expected to triple over the next year with the launch of recreational marijuana sales.

“There’s more than 4 million eligible consumers versus 168,000 medical patients,” Tilburg said, according to a WBAL report late last month.

So far, the Maryland Cannabis Administration has converted the licenses of 95 medical marijuana dispensaries so that they can serve recreational cannabis customers, according to data released by the agency on June 28. Additionally, state regulators have licensed 42 cannabis cultivators and manufacturers to provide adult-use products. 

“The state of Maryland was very busy,” Chris Harvey, general manager of Panacea Wellness dispensary in Annapolis, said about the first week of regulated recreational marijuana sales.

Harvey said that since last week’s launch of adult-use cannabis sales, the shop has seen steady customer traffic and a steep increase in daily transactions compared to when the dispensary began selling medical marijuana only in October. Before recreational sales “we could go an hour without seeing people in the building,” he said. But now, sales of both recreational and medical products are strong, he said. But he does not expect the initial volume to last, noting that one week’s worth of sales is not a reliable indicator of what is to come.

“Some of this novelty will wear off soon,” Harvey said, adding that he expects Maryland’s cannabis market to become more competitive as more dispensaries open.

The post Maryland’s First Week of Adult-Use Cannabis Sales Tops $20 Million appeared first on High Times.