Week in Review: Cannabis Cafés Coming to California

In this week’s cannabis news round-up, California’s bill permitting cannabis cafés advances to Governor Newson for final approval; New York launches wider cannabis licensing in October; and Massachusetts hits record-breaking $5 billion in adult-use cannabis sales.

PHOTO Kazyaka Konrad

California Bill Permitting Cannabis Cafés Advances to Governor for Signature

The California Assembly achieved a significant milestone on Monday by passing a bill that would authorize Amsterdam-style cannabis cafés throughout the Golden State. The bill has now advanced to Governor Gavin Newsom (D) for the ultimate green light. Initially introduced by Assemblymember Matt Haney (D-San Francisco) in February, the Assembly’s resounding endorsement came with a 66-9 vote, following last week’s 34-3 approval by the state senate.

While certain cities in California already allow for social cannabis use, including San Francisco and Oakland, they’re prohibited from offering non-cannabis food or beverages alongside cannabis consumption. Under the proposed measure, local jurisdictions would have the authority to grant permission to cannabis retailers to prepare and serve non-cannabis food and beverages. These establishments could also host and sell tickets for live musical performances or other events within the designated area where cannabis consumption is permitted, as outlined in a legislative summary.

Assembly Bill 374 specifies that cannabis retailers cannot sell alcohol or hemp products and any retailer with a suspended license is barred from engaging in activities authorized under the bill. The bill mandates that all non-cannabis food and beverages at the retailer’s premises must be stored and displayed separately from cannabis and cannabis products. A strict no-tobacco-use policy must also be enforced.

New York Cannabis
PHOTO Rosman Rai

New York to Launch Wider Cannabis Licensing in October

New York is gearing up to unlock its cannabis industry applications to the general public, commencing on October 4, extending the opportunity to include existing state medical cannabis enterprises. On Tuesday, September 12, the New York Cannabis Control Board voted in favor of opening up license applications for the cultivation, manufacturing and sale of adult-use cannabis to non-social equity applicants.

The decision clears the path for established multistate operators, including Curaleaf, Acreage Holdings, Columbia Care and Cresco Labs, to venture into what experts anticipate to become the largest cannabis market on the East Coast, with projected revenues reaching $7.07 billion by 2025.

This development follows the recent approval of regulations by the Cannabis Control Board, charting a path for increased participation in the Empire State’s cannabis market. New York’s cannabis industry has faced hurdles due to a slow rollout and a recent lawsuit that effectively halted licensing statewide.

The regulations comprise of a wide array of cannabis-related activities, including plant nurseries, cultivators, processors, cooperatives, distributors, dispensaries, delivery services and microbusinesses. Currently, vertically integrated medical cannabis companies in the state will be obligated to pay a special licensing fee of $20 million to establish three adult-use dispensaries at their existing locations.

Under the measure, existing conditional license holders who follow state regulations have the chance to switch to nonconditional licenses. Application and licensing fees for novel licenses range from $750 to $300,000. Lower fees will apply to social equity applicants to keep within the state’s commitment to promoting diversity and inclusivity within the industry. The regulations don’t include limitations on the number of license types.

Massachusetts State House, Boston. PHOTO King of Hearts

Massachusetts Hits $5 Billion in Adult-Use Cannabis Sales

Massachusetts has achieved a remarkable milestone in its adult-use cannabis market, with total sales reaching $5 billion by August 31. This follows a series of record-breaking monthly sales in June, July and August, as reported by the state’s Cannabis Control Commission (CCC). The jump from $4 billion to $5 billion occurred in just eight months, marking the shortest period for Massachusetts businesses to generate an additional $1 billion in gross sales.

“Massachusetts continues to hit record sales even as other states have come online. In fact, our neighboring states Maine, Rhode Island and Connecticut also had record sales this summer,” Executive Director of the Commission, Shawn Collins, said in a statement. “Demand for tested, quality cannabis products remains strong in the region and consumers shopping in other states have not impacted Massachusetts’ success.”

In addition to this impressive sales figure, the CCC also provided insights into the industry’s regulatory landscape. To date, only five cannabis retailers in the state have either surrendered their licenses or allowed them to expire. Similarly, a total of 16 cannabis businesses in various sectors have either had their licenses expire, surrendered them, or faced revocation. Presently, Massachusetts has 317 cannabis retailers, nine delivery couriers, eight delivery operators and one microbusiness equipped with a delivery endorsement.

Adult-use cannabis sales in the Bay State began in 2018 with the passing of Question 4.

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Week in Review: Ric Flair’s Wooooo! Energy Drink to Power Cleveland Cavaliers

In this week’s cannabis news round-up,Ric Flair’s Wooooo! energy drink teams up with Cleveland Cavaliers in Ohio; Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians votes to legalize cannabis; a NYC mother awarded $75,000 following a dispute over cannabis use and child custody; and Illinois is set to host its first-ever cannabis-friendly music festival.

Photo courtesy of Ric Flair

Ric Flair’s Wooooo! Energy Drink Teams Up with Cleveland Cavaliers in Ohio

WWE legend Ric “The Nature Boy” Flair’s latest creation, Wooooo! Energy Drink has secured an exclusive partnership with the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers.

“I’m from Cleveland, so you know it’s exciting for me. Woooo! Energy has been gaining tremendous momentum,” Chad Bronstein, Chairman and President of Carma HoldCo, said. “Ric had a productive meeting with Giant Eagle, a store I’ve been familiar with my entire life. After several months of negotiation, we struck a partnership. Given their role as grocery partners for the Cavs, we decided to establish a collaboration with the Cavaliers as well.”

Flair will make special appearances in Ohio this week to promote Wooooo! Energy Drink and the newfound partnership at Giant Eagle and Market District supermarkets, starting Monday, September 11 in Cleveland.

Woooo! Energy has disrupted the energy drink scene with its unique mushroom-based beverage, designed to enhance immune and cognitive function while providing clean energy without the dreaded sugar crashes. The beverages are formulated using Taurine, L-Theanine and Gotu Kola Extract, along with a medley of functional mushrooms, including Lion’s Mane, Cordyceps, Chaga, Turkey Tail, Shiitake, Maitake and Reishi.

PHOTO Pbroks13

Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Votes to Legalize Cannabis

In a milestone move, members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee have overwhelmingly supported the legalization of cannabis for individuals aged 21 and above. This historic decision paves the way for North Carolina’s first legal recreational cannabis sales.

More than 2,400 people voted in favor of the referendum, showing strong support for legalization and the development of regulations by the Tribal Council, while approximately 1,000 members voted against it. The vote doesn’t immediately make cannabis available on the Boundary; it marks the beginning of the process for the Eastern Band Tribal Council to create adult use regulations.

As a sovereign nation and federally recognized tribe, the Eastern Band can enact cannabis measures independently, regardless of state or federal restrictions. The tribe had previously legalized medical cannabis in 2021, enabling cultivation and sales on the Qualla Boundary.

Joey Owle, EBCI Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources, expressed his excitement about the outcome, highlighting that change at the federal level should have occurred earlier.

“For us, as the EBCI, as a sovereign nation, we are going to move forward with the results of tonight with an adult use program, and really the way that I see it is that we are putting an issue to bed,” Owle said.

PHOTO konstantant

Bronx Mother Awarded $75,000 Following Dispute Over Cannabis Use and Child Custody

New York City’s child welfare agency has agreed to pay $75,000 Chanetto Rivers after her newborn son was briefly removed from her custody due to her legal cannabis use. Rivers sued, alleging racial bias by the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), which has faced criticism for its treatment of Black families and cannabis-using parents.

This is the first case holding ACS accountable for violating a provision in New York’s cannabis legalization law that forbids child removal solely for a parent’s cannabis use. A federal judge approved the agency’s compensation offer.

In August 2021, after New York legalized adult use cannabis, Rivers smoked at a family gathering, leading to contractions and a hospital visit for childbirth. During delivery, she and her baby tested positive for cannabis and ACS initiated a neglect case, seeking to place the child, referred to as TW, in foster care.

Rivers had to go through a legal process to regain custody of TW and ACS continued unannounced home visits and required parenting classes and drug tests for months. Rivers’ lawsuit alleged racial discrimination, emphasizing a pattern documented in a 2020 audit. The city’s settlement does not admit wrongdoing but signifies a resolution in both parties’ best interests.

This case serves as a model for challenging family separations by ACS based on cannabis use and highlights documented disparities in the treatment of Black families by the agency. Rivers emphasized her lawsuit was for all affected Black families, signaling a call for change.

Photo courtesy of Miracle in Mundelein

Illinois to Host Its First-Ever Cannabis-Friendly Music Festival

Illinois is set to host its first-ever concert allowing on-site cannabis consumption this weekend, marking a historic occasion for music fans in the Prairie State. The concert features cannabis-friendly headlining artists, including Cypress Hill, Stephen Marley and Action Bronson.

The Miracle in Mundelein festival will provide attendees with complimentary rolling papers, lighters, grinders and even dab bars and rolling stations. Cannabis products will be available for purchase from a nearby dispensary.

Inside the event, cannabis consumption is permitted for those 21 and older, while any usage outside the event’s perimeter is strictly prohibited. Organizers emphasize the importance of adhering to these regulations to set a responsible and respectful example within the cannabis community.

Attendees are required to follow possession limits applicable to nonresidents of the state, which include 15 grams of flower, 250 milligrams of infused edibles and 2.5 grams of concentrates. All cannabis products must be bought from licensed Illinois retailers and remain in their original packaging.

Smoking devices, such as glass, metal, wood or ceramic pieces under six inches in length, are allowed. Vape pens are also permissible if they adhere to the state’s 2.5-gram concentrate limit.

Illinois legalized cannabis through its state legislature in 2019, with the first legal sales commencing a year later.

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Week in Review: The Bahamas Moves to Legalize Cannabis

In this week’s cannabis news round-up, Bahamas government introduces bill to legalize medical and religious use of cannabis; more American adults see cannabis as safer than alcohol and cigarettes; medical cannabis sales increase as pot prices decline; and Maria Sakkari disturbed by cannabis odor during us open.

PHOTO Cristofer Maximilian

Bahamian Government Introduces Bill to Legalize Medical and Religious Use of Cannabis

New legislation has been introduced in The Bahamas to legalize cannabis for medical and religious applications and to decriminalize the possession of small quantities of cannabis. Individuals found with less than an ounce of cannabis not intended for medical or religious use would face a $250 fine rather than criminal charges.

The proposed law outlines that licenses for cultivation, retail, transportation and religious usage would exclusively be granted to Bahamian-owned companies. Licenses for research, testing and manufacturing would require at least 30% Bahamian ownership. The island nation’s government plans to establish an agency to oversee the industry; Attorney General Ryan Pinder has previously indicated that cannabis for religious use would only be allowed to be smoked within licensed organizations’ premises.

Similar cannabis policy reforms have been undertaken by other Caribbean nations. In 2018, Antigua and Barbuda legalized medical cannabis and in June, Rastafari members were authorized to grow and consume cannabis due to their sacred beliefs. Jamaica has also decriminalized small-scale cannabis possession.


Gallup Poll: More Americans See Cannabis As Safer Than Alcohol and Cigarettes, as Cannabis Use Exceeds Tobacco Smoking

A recent Gallup poll revealed that Americans now believe cannabis is less risky than alcohol, cigarettes, vapes and other tobacco products. The data indicates that cannabis use has exceeded cigarette consumption in the US, as adults are increasingly moving away from cigarettes due to growing awareness of their health risks. At the same time, attitudes toward cannabis are shifting, with decreasing perceptions of harm as more states legalize its use and more adults identify as users.

Participants of the poll were questioned about seven substances and their perceived levels of harm: “very,” “somewhat” or “not too/not at all.” The findings show that approximately 40% of respondents view cannabis as “not too” or “not at all” harmful. This is in stark contrast to cigarettes, with only four percent considering them relatively harmless and alcohol, where just 16% share this sentiment. On the other hand, 23% see cannabis as “very harmful,” compared to 76% for cigarettes, 54% for e-cigarettes, 39% for cigars and 30% for alcohol.


Arkansas: Medical Cannabis Sales Increase as Weed Prices Decline

The cost of medical cannabis in Arkansas has decreased, with the price per pound dropping from $5,466 in 2022 to $4,545 in June, according to data from the Arkansas Department of Finance & Administration (DFA). In 2021, the average pound price was $6,565.

In 2022, Arkansas’ medical cannabis dispensaries saw an average monthly sale of 4,212 pounds, reaching 5,149 pounds in June. The state law limits the number of dispensaries to 40.

April’s report revealed that Arkansas witnessed a 7.14% increase in medical cannabis sales in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period in 2022, based on DFA data.

In 2022, medical cannabis sales hit a record high at $276 million, a 4.3% increase from the previous year’s $264 million. Sales for this year are projected to surpass both 2021 and 2022, with over $140 million recorded in the first half of 2023, according to state data.

Maria Sakkari
Photo courtesy of Maria Sakkari

Maria Sakkari Disturbed by Cannabis Odor During US Open Defeat

Maria Sakkari, the No. 8 seed tennis player from Greece, faced an unexpected distraction during her first-round match at the US Open in New York City: the smell of cannabis on the court.

Sakkari reportedly noticed the smell during a changeover when she was leading 4-1 in the first set against Rebeka Masarova. She attributed the smell to a nearby park and reportedly also noticing it during her practice on the same court the day before.

“Sometimes you smell food, sometimes you smell cigarettes, sometimes you smell weed,” Sakkari said. “I mean, it’s something we cannot control, because we’re in an open space. There’s a park behind. People can do whatever they want.”

However, Sakkari says that the odor didn’t impact her focus or performance during the match, in what became her third straight first-round exit in a Grand Slam tournament.

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Week in Review: World Anti-Doping Agency Cannabis Position Remains Unchanged

In this week’s cannabis news round-up, the World Anti-Doping Agency’s cannabis policy remains unchanged; a new study says that young people at risk of psychosis show surprising improvement with cannabis use; cannabis tax revenue surpasses alcohol and cigarettes in Colorado; and Australia makes historical cannabis policy reform.

Director General Olivier Niggli. PHOTO World Anti-Doping Agency

World Anti-Doping Agency: Cannabis “Opposes the Spirit of Sport”

At the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) recent meeting, the organization’s Executive Committee discussed priorities, decisions and recommendations, including the topic of THC and cannabis use by athletes.

In September 2021, due to requests from a few stakeholders, the committee decided to start reviewing the status of cannabis and THC’s effects on sports based on three criteria: It has the potential to enhance sport performance; It represents a health risk to the athlete; and It violates the spirit of sport (as defined by the Code).

Following the review, the committee supported the recommendation of the WADA Prohibited List Expert Advisory Group (LiEAG) to keep THC’s status unchanged on the Prohibited List, outlining the rationale for maintaining the ban on cannabis use by athletes in competitions, despite increasing calls to change the policy.

Scientific publications, athlete testimonials and surveys were considered and external experts evaluated the results. The Ethics Expert Advisory Group affirmed its position that current cannabis use “opposes the spirit of sport.”

THC remains banned in competition if urine concentration exceeds 150 ng/mL. The inclusion of ‘Substance of Abuse’ provisions reduced suspension periods for out-of-competition THC use. WADA Director General Olivier Niggli noted the global diversity of opinions and laws, affirming that maintaining cannabis on the list is supported by experts’ review and international regulations.

“The question of how THC should be dealt with in a sporting context isn’t straightforward,” Niggli said. “WADA is aware of the diversity of opinions and perceptions related to this substance around the world and even within certain countries. WADA is also mindful that the few requests for THC’s removal from the Prohibited List aren’t supported by the experts’ thorough review. We’re also conscious that the laws of many countries—as well as broad international regulatory laws and policies—support maintaining cannabis on the List at this time. WADA plans to continue research in this area in relation to THC’s potential performance-enhancing effects, its impact on the health of athletes and also in relation to perceptions of cannabis from athletes, experts and others around the world.”

PHOTO Diego Cervo

Study: Young People at Risk of Psychosis Show Surprising Improvement with Cannabis Use

A recent study on teenagers and young adults at risk of developing psychotic disorders revealed that regular cannabis use over a two-year period didn’t lead to an early onset of symptoms, contrary to claims that cannabis causes mental illness. Instead, the study showed slight improvements in cognitive functioning and reduced use of other medications.

Conducted by researchers from Zucker Hillside Hospital, Stanford University School of Medicine, University of Michigan and University of California at Davis, the study followed 210 individuals aged 12–25 participating in an Early Detection and Intervention for the Prevention of Psychosis Program (EDIPPP). Comparing mental health and medication usage between regular cannabis users and non-users, the study found that continuous cannabis use over two years did not increase psychosis rates or worsen clinical symptoms, functioning or cognitive abilities.

“Recreational cannabis use has recently gained considerable interest as an environmental risk factor that triggers the onset of psychosis,” the study authors wrote. “To date, however, the evidence that cannabis is associated with negative outcomes in individuals at clinical high risk (CHR) for psychosis is inconsistent.”

PHOTO Logan Bonjean

Colorado: Cannabis Tax Revenue Surpasses Alcohol and Cigarettes

Data from the Colorado government reveals that state tax revenue from retail cannabis sales continues to outpace that from alcohol and cigarettes.

In the fiscal year 2022-23, cannabis tax revenue reached over $282 million, compared to more than $56 million from alcohol and approximately $234 million from cigarette sales. It’s worth noting that cannabis products are subject to higher excise tax rates than alcohol and cigarettes and also bear an additional 15% “special” sales tax rate.

Approximately $60 million of the cannabis-related tax revenue was allocated to public school construction and an additional $25 million contributed to the State Public School Fund. The report didn’t account for locally imposed tax revenue.

According to calculations by the Marijuana Policy Project earlier this year, tax revenues from licensed retail sales of legal adult-use cannabis products totaled some $3.8 billion in 2022. Since 2014, the year The Centennial State legalized adult-use cannabis, sales have generated more than $15.1 billion.

PHOTO Joey Csunyo

Australia Makes Historical Cannabis Policy Reform

Australia has achieved a significant cannabis policy reform milestone as Greens Senator David Shoebridge introduced the Legalising Cannabis Bill 2023. This historic move marks the first instance of a bill entering Australia/s Federal Parliament to legalize adult-use home cultivation and commerce of cannabis nationwide, pending approval from both chambers.

Senator Shoebridge emphasized the need for sensible reform and stated that it’s a matter of when, not if, cannabis will be legalized in Australia. The bill aims to seize opportunities such as generating $28 billion in public revenue over the first nine years and creating new jobs, businesses and economic growth.

Additionally, the bill emphasizes regulating cannabis quality and safety, reducing harm and keeping individuals out of the criminal justice system. The proposed legislation is built on contributions from numerous experts and stakeholders, aiming to pave the way for comprehensive cannabis legalization across the country.

“With just a sprinkling of political courage and collaboration mixed with a truckload of common sense, we can make this law and end the war on cannabis,” the senator said in a press release. “It’s time to stop pretending that consumption of this plant, consumed each year by literally millions of Australians, should still be seen as a crime. Everyone knows that it is not a matter of if we legalize cannabis in Australia, it’s a matter of when and today, we’re taking a huge step forward.”

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Week in Review: Half of US Adults Have Tried Cannabis, Gallop Poll

In this week’s cannabis news round-up, a new Gallup poll confirms half of US adults have tried cannabis; Federal Appeals Court rules federal gun ban for cannabis users unconstitutional; newly revealed email confirms DEA’s position on delta-8 THC from CBD; Germany’s cabinet approves draft legalization proposal; Cann takes Roadie to 31 more states; and Edwin Eats An Edible Kickstarter campaign goes live.

PHOTO Elsa Olofsson

New Poll Confirms Half of US Adults Have Tried Cannabis

As the wave of cannabis legalization continues to sweep across the US, a recent Gallup poll has revealed a significant shift in cannabis consumption. According to the findings, a record-breaking 50% of Americans have experimented with cannabis at some point. While this marks only a modest uptick from 2022, it is a statistically significant surge from 2019’s figure of 45%.

The poll also found that more Americans are actively engaging with cannabis than with tobacco cigarettes, indicating that around 17% of American adults currently use cannabis, while only 11% are cigarette smokers.

PHOTO Google Maps

Federal Appeals Court Rules Federal Gun Ban for Cannabis Users Unconstitutional

A federal appeals court has ruled that the long-standing federal prohibition on cannabis users possessing firearms is unconstitutional. Based in New Orleans, the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that the 1968 law prohibiting firearm possession or sale to an “unlawful user” of a federally controlled substance should not be interpreted so broadly as criminalizing all gun owners with a history of cannabis use.

The case involved an individual sentenced to four years in prison after firearms and remains of a joint were found in his vehicle. Despite admitting occasional cannabis use, there was no evidence to suggest he was under the influence at the time of his arrest.

The court stated, “While our history may support limits on an intoxicated person’s right to carry a weapon, it does not justify disarming a sober citizen solely based on past drug use.”

This decision follows similar rulings by other federal courts, including one in Oklahoma and another in Texas, affirming that using cannabis does not warrant stripping an individual of their right to possess a firearm. A separate legal challenge, initiated by former Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and medical marijuana patients, is still pending in the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Congress has also introduced bills seeking to remove federal firearms-related restrictions on cannabis consumers.

PHOTO Timothy Clemons

DEA Considers Synthesized Delta-8 THC from CBD Federally Illegal, According to Newly Revealed Email

A letter from the US Drug Enforcement Administration’s Drug & Chemical Evaluation Section Chief Terrence Boos, dated 2021, has confirmed that the DEA views delta-8 THC, produced from CBD synthesis, as federally unlawful. While not new information, the explanation is presented in simple terms, dispelling any lingering uncertainties regarding DEA’s regulations: when derived from legal CBD, the DEA categorizes delta-8 THC as a banned controlled substance.

Attorney Shane Pennington shared the revelation via his “On Drugs” Substack page, “Arriving at delta-8-THC by a chemical reaction starting from CBD makes the delta-8-THC synthetic and therefore, not exempted by the [Agriculture Improvement Act]. Any quantity of delta-8-THC obtained by chemical means is a controlled substance.”

The Agriculture Improvement Act, also known as the 2018 Farm Bill, granted states the authority to establish their own hemp programs, leading to the emergence of companies selling hemp-derived cannabinoids. Some have taken it further by synthesizing these non-intoxicating compounds into more potent ones like delta-8 or delta-9 THC.

PHOTO Maheshkumar Painam

Germany’s Cabinet Approves Draft Cannabis Legalization Proposal

Germany has taken a significant step towards modernizing its cannabis policy. The nation’s federal cabinet has given the green light to a draft legalization measure, marking the first phase of this transformative effort spearheaded by Health Minister Karl Lauterbach. The proposal is now going to the Bundestag, the country’s legislative body, for further evaluation.

The proposed measure aims to legalize personal cultivation, possession and consumption of cannabis for adults in Germany. The plan also entails the establishment of non-commercial cannabis clubs, which would distribute cannabis to their members. However, certain limitations would apply, including purchasing caps, designated ‘buffer zones,’ restrictions on club numbers per jurisdiction and a maximum membership limit of 500 individuals per club. The next phase of Germany’s cannabis policy reform will involve the implementation of regional cannabis pilot initiatives.

Photo courtesy of Cann

Cann Takes Roadie to 31 More States

Cann, the leading cannabis beverage brand, has expanded its Roadie product to 31 new states. Initially available only in California, these convenient drink sachets are perfect for on-the-go consumption. With no powders, it’s as easy as tear, pour and mix into any drink.

Roadie comes in Cann’s three core flavors: Grapefruit Rosemary, Blood Orange Cardamom and Lemon Lavender. Each Roadie sachet delivers a perfectly balanced and social experience thanks to a balanced 2mg of THC and 4mg of CBD.

“Edwin Eats An Edible” Kickstarter Now Live

Meet Edwin and his friends as they introduce a range of diverse ways they live their lives with plant medicine. The new book by 69&Sunny, Edwin Eats An Edible is an alphabet-style illustrated journey that celebrates the wonders of cannabis for adults—is now live. Launched this week and running until September 14, the Kickstarter campaign aims to secure the necessary funds for the completion and fall publication of the book.

This innovative project is brought to life by 69&Sunny, a Philadelphia-based arts collective founded by real-life cannabis-focused couple Calan and Bryce, who’s personal health journey and exploration of cannabis medicine inspired them to educate the local community through art.

The book features an introduction by Dr. Rachel Knox, an endocannabinologist and cannabis medicine specialist. With a blend of humor and curiosity, the initiative aligns with 69&Sunny’s mission to create inclusive spaces for learning and growth.

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Week in Review: Tilray to Acquire Beverage Brands from Anheuser-Busch

In this week’s cannabis news round-up, Tilray Brands to acquire beer and beverage brands from Anheuser-Busch; Jesse Ventura aims to be political pot pioneer; Connecticut sees $13M in adult-sue sales in July; and RAW donates $100K to JUSTÜS Foundation to boost legacy cannabis operators.

PHOTO Gotta Be Worth It

Tilray Brands to Acquire Eight Beer & Beverage Brands from Anheuser-Busch

Tilray Brands, the world’s largest cannabis company, is now set to become the 5th-largest craft brewer and 15th-largest overall brewer in the US by acquiring eight popular beer and beverage brands from Anheuser-Busch, including Shock Top, Breckenridge Brewery, Blue Point Brewing Company, 10 Barrel Brewing Company, Redhook Brewery, Widmer Brothers Brewing, Square Mile Cider Company and HiBall Energy. The deal includes the brands’ employees, breweries and brewpubs and will be completed in cash, with the transaction expected to finalize later this year.

These additions to Tilray’s portfolio diversify the company’s US beverage alcohol category segment. It already own renowned brands SweetWater Brewing Company, Montauk Brewing Company, Alpine Beer Company and Green Flash Brewing Company. Tilray also owns Breckenridge Distillery, an award-winning spirits brand and Happy Flower CBD sparkling non-alcoholic cocktails.

“Today’s announcement both solidifies our national leadership position and share in the US craft brewing market and marks a major step forward in our diversification strategy,” said Tilray’s Chairman and CEO, Irwin D. Simon. “We’re excited to work with the teams behind these iconic brands that command great consumer loyalty and have a history of delivering strong award-winning products with tremendous growth opportunities. Tilray is fully committed to invest in and champion the future of the US craft beer industry by fueling new innovation that excites and further accelerates the growth of its consumer base.”

Photo courtesy of Jesse Ventura

Jesse Ventura Aims to Be Political Pot Pioneer

Former Minnesota Governor and iconic wrestler Jesse Ventura, a vocal advocate for adult-use cannabis legalization, is reportedly planning to enter the cannabis industry in his home state. With the recent legalization of cannabis in Minnesota, Ventura aims to launch his own cannabis brand, utilizing his image and identity to promote the product.

According to a press release, he envisions this move not only as an economic boost for the state but also as an opportunity to keep the cannabis business and its profits within Minnesota, emphasizing his desire to contribute to the local economy by partnering with companies based in The Gopher State.

“I’d prefer to do Minnesota—put my name with Minnesota companies and make cannabis a prosperous business in Minnesota by Minnesotans, keeping the money in Minnesota,” Ventura said. “We’ve always been a great farm state. There’s no doubt Minnesota can produce corn, we can produce wheat—we can also produce the best cannabis in the world, too. There’s no doubt we can do that also.”

Earlier this year, Ventura made a significant step by testifying before a state senate committee in support of adult-use recreational cannabis legalization. This marked his first time testifying in front of a legislative committee in Minnesota.

Ventura’s involvement in cannabis advocacy dates back to his time in office when he championed the cause. He was elected as Minnesota’s governor in 1998 as a Reform Party candidate and served a single term. He also attended the signing ceremony by current Governor Tim Walz, solidifying the North Star State’s move towards cannabis legalization.

Connecticut State Capitol. PHOTO jglazer75

Connecticut Sees $13M in July Adult-Use Cannabis Sales, Medical Sales Dip

Connecticut’s adult-use cannabis sales in July hit $13 million, while medical cannabis sales amounted to $10.6 million, data from the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) revealed. During the month, adult-use customers bought 324,177 products, while medical cannabis patients purchased 279,240 items.

For July, the average price for adult-use products stood at $39.92, slightly higher than the $39.66 average for medical cannabis products. Among the sales, 52% were from flower products, vapes made up 31% and edibles constituted 11%.

Since its January launch, adult-use cannabis sales have consistently grown in Connecticut, rising by around $500,000 from June to July. In the same period, medical cannabis sales dropped from roughly $11.4 million to $10.6 million.

Year-to-date, Connecticut dispensaries have seen about $68.9 million in adult-use sales and approximately $76.5 million in medical cannabis sales. While medical cannabis sales initially outweighed adult-use sales in the first four months of adult-use availability, the trend has reversed over the past three months.

Medical cannabis sales remain exempt from sales and excise taxes in th Constitution State. For adult-use purchases, a transaction limit of 7 grams of raw flower (or its equivalent) persists. Medical cannabis patients can buy up to 5 ounces per month without facing individual transaction limits.

RAW founder Josh Kesselman. Photo courtesy of RAW Rolling Papers

RAW Donates $100K to JUSTÜS Foundation to Boost Legacy Cannabis Operators

RAW Rolling Papers has contributed $100,000 to the JUSTÜS Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to aiding legacy cannabis operators in entering the legal market. The donation, stemming from the RAW Seeds Fellowship grants, will be divided among legacy operators who have been adversely affected by cannabis laws enforced by the justice system.

To qualify for the fellowship, a legacy operator is defined as someone who primarily engaged in cannabis-related activities outside of the legal framework before legalization, spanning a period of five years. The grants, amounting to up to $20,000 per recipient, aim to facilitate the launch of legal cannabis businesses for these operators.

The JUSTÜS Foundation has committed itself to facilitating the transition of legacy cannabis operators into the legal market. Their educational initiatives encompass diverse programs such as the Woman Warrior Initiative, Safe Smoke Sesh Series, Octogacy, Mental Health First, The Revolutionary Cannabis Series, Cannabis Accounting Roundtables, and JUSTÜS JUMP Ins.

Josh Kesselman, RAW’s founder, pointed out the significance of supporting the pioneers who laid the groundwork for the industry.

“As the industry undergoes a significant transformation, emerging from the shadows and embracing legality, it’s crucial that those who built it from the ground up are the beneficiaries, along with the communities they come from,” Kesselman said in a press release. “While major companies are rushing to take advantage of new laws legalizing cannabis, we need to support the small entrepreneurs who are the true lifeblood of this industry.”

Scheril Murray Powell, COO of JUSTÜS Foundation, described the organization’s mission as breaking down barriers. She explained that integrating legacy operators is pivotal for diversifying the legal cannabis market and contributing to a robust and inclusive industry that promotes societal health and wellness. Additionally, the program may offer smaller grants of up to $15,000 to various legacy operators, aiming to assist them in launching legal cannabis businesses or pursuing careers in the legal cannabis sector.

Steve DeAngelo, founder of JUSTÜS Foundation, underlined the importance of recognizing the significant role that legacy operators played during the prohibition era and advocated for their fair treatment as heroes rather than criminals.

“Instead of being excluded from the legal cannabis industry, legacy operators should be warmly welcomed into it,” he said. “They should be honored as the brave pioneers and accomplished experts they truly are, not ostracized or excluded because they’ve been convicted for breaking unjust laws that should never have been passed. These grants will help return opportunities to legacy cannabis entrepreneurs that shouldn’t have been taken away from them in the first place.”

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Week in Review: Diddy Loses Multi-Million-Dollar Cannabis Deal

In this week’s cannabis news round-up, Diddy loses multi-million-dollar cannabis deal; Maryland’s first-month adult-use cannabis sales skyrocket to nearly $85 million; study finds no elevated risk of workplace accidents for off-hour cannabis users; and Illinois smashes records with $136m in adult-use cannabis sales in June.

PHOTO spyrakot

Diddy Loses Multi-Million Dollar Cannabis Deal

Hip hop legend and successful entrepreneur P Diddy, also known as Sean “Puffy” Combs, reportedly faced a setback in his cannabis venture as the proposed $2 billion mega-deal involving Cresco Labs and Columbia Care fell through. The merger, originally announced in March 2022, aimed to form the largest cannabis company in the US, providing a much-needed boost to an industry grappling with economic and regulatory obstacles.

The $185 million deal involving Diddy would’ve seen him acquiring stores across New York, Massachusetts and Illinois, along with their production facilities. However, the superstar’s management remains committed to exploring business opportunities in the cannabis industry to empower diverse leaders. The Grammy Award-winning artist had previously expressed his mission to create opportunities for black entrepreneurs and promote inclusion within the cannabis market.

“My mission has always been to create opportunities for black entrepreneurs in industries where we’ve traditionally been denied access and this acquisition provides the immediate scale and impact needed to create a more equitable future in cannabis,” he said.

PHOTO Martin Falbisoner

Maryland’s First-Month Adult-Use Cannabis Sales Skyrocket

Maryland’s adult-use cannabis market has hit the ground running, with first-month sales in July reaching almost $85 million, as reported by the Maryland Cannabis Administration (MCA).

Most sales, more than $51.1 million, came from flower purchases, showing the strong demand for traditional cannabis products. Concentrate sales followed closely behind at $22.1 million, while infused edibles reached over $6.3 million and infused non-edibles achieved more than $4.8 million. Additionally, shake and trim contributed $554,104 and plants generated $3,535 in revenue.

The MCA has been actively converting licenses to accommodate adult-use cannabis customers, successfully transitioning 95 medical cannabis dispensaries. State regulators have also issued licenses to 42 cannabis cultivators and manufacturers, promoting a diverse array of products to meet consumer demands.

PHOTO Zoi Palla

Study Finds No Elevated Risk of Workplace Accidents for Off-Hour Cannabis Users

A recent study published in the Canadian Journal of Public Health revealed that employees who consume cannabis during their off-hours do not face a higher risk of workplace accidents compared to those who abstain from marijuana altogether.

Researchers from the University of Toronto, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, examined data from 2,745 Canadians to assess the relationship between cannabis use and the risk of workplace accidents. The study confirmed previous findings that there was “no difference in workplace injury risk” between employees who used cannabis outside of work and those who abstained entirely.

However, the research showed that employees who reported using cannabis during or right before work had a nearly two-fold increased risk of experiencing an occupational injury.

PHOTO drdroad

Illinois Smashes Records with $136M in Adult-Use Cannabis Sales in June

Illinois’ adult-use cannabis market reached unprecedented heights in June, raking in a staggering $136 million in sales, according to data from the Cannabis Regulation Oversight Officer (CROO). This impressive figure not only represents the highest total of the year but also stands as the third-highest monthly sales ever recorded.

In-state consumers accounted for $102 million of the sales, while out-of-state visitors contributed $34 million. Meanwhile, medical cannabis sales in the state remained steady at $27 million, maintaining the same total as May and only $1 million lower than April’s figures.

The surge in adult-use sales can be attributed to an increase of $3 million from May and $4 million from April. However, Illinois experienced a dip in sales from $128 million in January to $120 million in February, which experts believe could be linked to neighboring Missouri’s launch of adult-use sales with the lowest excise tax at 6%, according to Tax Foundation data. By contrast, Illinois imposes a 7% excise tax on the wholesale value, a 10% tax on cannabis flower and products with less than 35% THC, a 20% tax on cannabis-infused products and a 25% tax on products with a THC concentration above 35%.

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Week in Review: Mastercard Stops Cannabis Purchases in the US

In this week’s cannabis news round-up, MasterCard stops cannabis purchases with debit cards in the US; Nevada grants first conditional license for stand-alone cannabis consumption lounge; new study shows cannabis enhances ‘runner’s high’ and reduces pain during exercise and PAX introduces “My PAX” for customized vapes.

PHOTO Gracie Malley for Cannabis Now

Mastercard Stops Cannabis Purchases with Debit Cards in the US

Mastercard has told US banks to stop allowing cannabis purchases with its debit cards, citing the complex legal and financial issues faced by the cannabis industry, despite the increasing legalization of cannabis in many states.

In an official statement on Thursday, Mastercard clarified that the federal government considers cannabis sales illegal, leading the company to ban such purchases on its systems. Mastercard promptly notified financial institutions connected to cannabis merchants to terminate these activities in line with their policies.

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

Following Mastercard’s cease-and-desist letters, companies using PIN debit payments for cannabis are now searching for alternative solutions for dispensaries that rely on these services. The crackdown is expected to limit convenient payment options for cannabis consumers, leading them towards cash-based transactions. Due to the federal illegality of the plant, major banks and credit card companies have typically restricted cannabis transactions, leaving limited payment options for buyers in states where it is legal.

“This news, while extremely disappointing, doesn’t come as a surprise,” Wendy Bronfein, co-founder of vertically integrated Maryland operator Curio Wellness, says. “The cannabis industry notoriously lacks access to traditional financial resources. With the stalling of the SAFE Banking Act in Congress and now this Mastercard roadblock, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that something must be done on the federal level to lift these constraints.”


Nevada Grants First Conditional License for Stand-Alone Cannabis Consumption Lounge

The Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board (CCB) has taken a significant step forward by granting a conditional license to the first independent cannabis consumption lounge. This approval opens the door for the launch of the first social-use cannabis lounges in the fall and marks a significant development in the Silver State’s cannabis industry.

The coveted license was awarded to La Lounge, LLC, who revealed plans to establish the lounge in Clark County, along with a restaurant. The exact location has not been disclosed yet.

Last year, the CCB issued prospective licenses for 40 cannabis consumption lounges linked to adult-use dispensaries. Recently, three dispensaries received conditional licenses from the CCB to proceed with opening their lounges.

New Study Shows Cannabis Enhances ‘Runner’s High,’ Reduces Pain During Exercise

A recent study reveals that cannabis is linked to an improved exercise experience, particularly for runners, making their runs more enjoyable and less painful. Researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder conducted a survey with 49 runners, asking them to rate their runs after using cannabis and without it.

Published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, the study found that participants reported “less negative affect, greater feelings of positive affect, tranquility, enjoyment and dissociation, and more runner’s high symptoms during their cannabis (vs. non-cannabis) runs.”

Although the runners were slightly slower after consuming cannabis, with a difference of 31 seconds per mile, the researchers noted that this change was not statistically significant. The study also revealed that participants experienced lower pain levels after their cannabis-infused runs, while the perceived exertion during both runs remained similar.

Photo courtesy of PAX

PAX Introduces My PAX Program for Customized Cannabis Vaporizer Devices

PAX is taking personalization to the next level, giving cannabis fans the chance to design devices that truly reflect their unique style and preferences with its latest initiative, My PAX. Building upon the success of the company’s in-store program, which has engraved tens of thousands of vapes, My PAX is now available online.

The artwork covers a wide range of themes to cater to various consumer trends and preferences, including cannabis culture, patterns and prints, Americana-style tattoo designs, mandalas, ‘90s culture, zodiac symbols, state pride and more.

“People are hungry for more personalized versions of their favorite products—a trend we’ve seen firsthand through successful artist and brand collaborations,” Luke Droulez, VP of marketing at PAX said. “Cannabis consumption is highly personal and a form of self-expression for many, so we’re thrilled to be launching a platform for creativity so that consumers everywhere can experience the magic of personalization and how it reflects their cannabis identities.”

One of the highlights of the launch is the exclusive library of custom designs created by the talented multi-hyphenate artist, Akiko Tsuji. The artist, ceramicist, editor, publisher and fashion designer has previously collaborated with PAX on a limited-edition collection. PAX intends to collaborate with other leading artists to introduce fresh perspectives and innovative designs for device personalization.

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Week in review: Supermodel Gigi Hadid Arrested for Cannabis Possession

In this week’s cannabis news round-up, supermodel Gigi Hadid was arrested and pleaded guilty to cannabis possession; Philip Morris to acquire Israeli firm for up to $650M; Ukraine takes first step towards medical cannabis; and Berner teams up with the Last Prisoner project for Release Papers.

Photo courtesy of Cayman Islands Classic

Gigi Hadid Arrested for Cannabis Possession in Cayman Islands

Gigi Hadid’s recent trip to the Cayman Islands took an unexpected turn when Customs & Border Control agents discovered cannabis and drug paraphernalia during a routine luggage scan and subsequent hand search in her luggage. The supermodel was reportedly arrested and fined $1,000 for the incident.

Hadid had flown to the tropical destination on a private jet for a girls’ trip from the US on July 10. Leah Nicole McCarthy, another member of Hadid’s group, had similar items in her bags and was arrested, too.

Following their detention, both women were released on bail and later appeared in a Summary Court on July 12. They pleaded guilty to the charges and neither had the conviction recorded.

After news of her arrest circulated, Hadid turned to Instagram to seemingly shrug off the incident. She posted a carousel of photos and videos from her vacation later that day and captioned it with, “All’s well that ends well.”

In response to the incident, a representative for Hadid said, “Gigi was traveling with cannabis purchased legally in New York City with a medical license. It has also been legal for medical use in Grand Cayman since 2017. Her record remains clear, and she enjoyed the rest of her time on the island.”

Photo courtesy of Syqe Medical

Philip Morris to Acquire Israeli Cannabis Firm for $650M

The multinational tobacco giant, Philip Morris International, is reportedly acquiring Israeli cannabis tech firm Syqe Medical in a deal worth up to $650 million.

Syqe Medical’s flagship product is a precise, pharmaceutical-grade inhaler that enables patients to measure exact doses of medical cannabis.

As part of the agreement, Philip Morris will initially invest $120 million in Syqe Medical.

Subsequently, if Syqe Medical’s inhaler receives approval from the US Food and Drug Administration after clinical trials, Philip Morris will acquire the remaining Syqe shares, totaling the agreed-upon $650 million.

If this deal passes, it’d be one of the most significant investments made by a tobacco producer in the cannabis industry in recent years and would position the Israeli company as one of the most valuable cannabis firms globally.

PHOTO Yehor Milohrodskyi

Ukraine Parliament Takes First Step in Approving Medical Cannabis Bill

Ukraine’s parliament has given its initial approval to a medical cannabis legalization bill. The legislation will now proceed to a second reading, subject to potential amendments and finalization by lawmakers, before reaching President Volodymyr Zelensky for his signature.

The proposed law aims to provide medical relief for conditions like PTSD, cancer pain, epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease.

The draft law, supported by the Ministry of Health and backed by President Zelensky, envisions a licensing system for the cultivation of medical cannabis strains. It emphasizes strict monitoring throughout the production and distribution process, with each batch of medical cannabis labeled with a unique barcode for transparent tracking across the supply chain.

People’s Deputy Iryna Herashchenko shared her perspective on the bill via the social media platform Telegram, highlighting the significance of regulating cannabis cultivation on an industrial scale and addressing potential corruption issues related to permits and financial flows. She also stressed the importance of tackling corruption and implementing proper controls to ensure responsible cultivation and drug prevention measures.

The proposed reforms have garnered considerable support among Ukrainians, with 65% of the population expressing approval in a poll conducted during the local elections in October 2022. If successfully passed, Ukraine will take a significant step towards offering medical cannabis treatment options under state-controlled regulations.

Photo courtesy of Vibes

Berner Teams with the Last Prisoner Project for Release Papers

Vibes, the rolling paper brand founded by rapper and cannabis mogul Berner, has joined forces with the Last Prisoner Project and creative company Mother to unveil Release Papers to raise awareness and support for cannabis prisoner reform.

The campaign addresses a concerning reality—countless individuals remain incarcerated with lengthy sentences for cannabis-related offenses, even as several states have legalized cannabis, leaving them behind bars for non-violent acts.

Specifically, Release Papers brings attention to the stories of four individuals with unjust sentences for non-violent cannabis-related crimes: Edwin Rubis, serving a 40-year sentence in Talladega, AL.; Hector McGurk, facing a life sentence without parole for a nonviolent cannabis offense in Victorville, CA.; Moe Taher, sentenced to 25 years for selling cannabis in Welch, WV.; and Ricardo Ashmeade, serving a 22-year sentence in Pollock, LA.

“Campaigns like this are part of who I am,” Berner said in a press release. “We must speak up, stand next to and support causes like Last Prisoner Project. I’ve helped raise awareness for Richard Delisi, Corvain Cooper and soon, Robert Deals. There are so many more people to fight for and I need your help to fight for their freedom.”

Set to launch on July 24th, 2023, Release Papers will be available in smoke shops nationwide and online at vibespapers.com. Head to release-papers.com to sign the Cannabis Clemency Now petition urging President Biden to release federal cannabis prisoners and participate in the letter-writing program, which sends letters to the four featured inmates.

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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.

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