According to a Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index Analysis that was published on May 18, post-accident workplace drug testing hit an all-time high in 2022. Last year, 7.3% workforce drug urine samples contained cannabis, in comparison to 6.7% of workers in 2021. Quest Diagnostics states that it has recorded a steady rise in post-accident cannabis positivity since 2012, with a 204.2% increase in workers testing positive for cannabis over the past 10 years. Between 2002-2009, post-accident positive test results had decreased.
Katie Mueller, National Safety Council senior program manager, said in a press release that the rise in legalization corresponds to an increase in workplace accidents. “Intoxicating cannabis products, including marijuana, can have a major impact on safety at work and have been proven to slow reaction time, impact memory and impair skills essential to driving. State legalization of the drug creates new challenges for employers,” said Mueller. “The Quest data provide compelling evidence that increased use of cannabis products by employees can contribute to greater risk for injuries in the workplace. It is imperative employers take the proper steps to create and maintain a policy that addresses cannabis use, build a safety-focused culture and educate the workforce to keep all workers safe on and off the job.”
The report states that cannabis was the main reason that workers’s drug tests have been positive, but other substances such as amphetamines have also contributed to the increase, with cannabis increasing by 10.3% and amphetamines increasing by 15.4%. In 2022, the most common industries that saw a rise in positive workplace drug tests were Accommodation and Food Services (7%), Retail Trade (7.7%), and Finance and Insurance (3.6%).
Keith Ward, Quest Diagnostics General Manager and Vice President for Employer Solutions,
“Our 2022 Quest Diagnostics analysis shows that the overall U.S. workforce positivity rate continued to be at a historically elevated level in 2022, even as much of the nation’s workforce returned to the office post-pandemic,” said Ward. “This historic rise seems to correspond with sharp increases in positivity for marijuana in both pre-employment and post-accident drug tests, suggesting that changing societal attitudes about marijuana may be impacting workplace behaviors and putting colleagues at risk. The increase in amphetamines positivity is also notable, given the addictive potential and health risks associated with this class of drugs.”
While safety is of the utmost importance in any workplace, the Quest Diagnostic data does not address how cannabis can remain in a person’s system for weeks after consumption, long after the effects have faded. With the rise in cannabis legalization, many industries are becoming more understanding of how cannabis is being commonly used as a relaxation aide, as well as treatment for common conditions like anxiety, depression, and more.
In February 2021, the Biden Administrations announced a new policy that would allow applicants to be hired even if they had previously consumed cannabis. “The White House’s policy will maintain the absolute highest standards for service in government that the President expects from his administration, while acknowledging the reality that state and local marijuana laws have changed significantly across the country in recent years,” the policy stated.
In September 2022, New Jersey regulators issued employment guidance for cannabis rules in the workplace, which “is meant to support employers’ right to create and maintain safe work environments, and to affirm employees’ right to due process.”
Additionally, a Canada-based study from 2020 found no association with cannabis use and increased workplace injuries. It analyzed 136,536 workers, 2,577 of whom experienced a work-related injury within the last 12 months, and only 4% stated that they were cannabis users during that time frame.
The governor of Rhode Island on Wednesday nominated three individuals to a regulatory panel that will oversee the state’s legal marijuana programs.
Gov. Dan McKee, a Democrat, announced his appointments to the Rhode Island Cannabis Control Commission, which “will oversee the regulation, licensing and control of adult use and medical cannabis in the Ocean State,” his office said in a press release.
“I am proud to appoint these three individuals to the commission to ensure Rhode Island’s cannabis industry is both fairly regulated and successful,” McKee said in the announcement. “These nominees bring diverse and relevant experience and I look forward to working with them.”
The three nominees are headlined by Kimberly Ahern, McKee’s pick to serve as chair of the commission and who currently serves as the governor’s deputy chief of staff.
“I am grateful to Governor McKee for his trust in me, and I look forward to the Senate confirmation process. If confirmed, I hope to continue the good work that has already begun in Rhode Island thanks to the leadership of the Department of Business Regulation and the Department of Health for many years. The first six months of adult-use have demonstrated our state’s success in carefully expanding into this new industry. I look forward to working with my fellow Commissioners to regulate cannabis in a manner that is safe, transparent and equitable in the years going forward,” Ahern said in the announcement.
The governor’s other two nominees are Robert Jacquard, currently a self-employed attorney, and Layi Oduyingbo, a managing attorney for a law firm in Cranston, Rhode Island.
“I am truly honored to be selected to the Rhode Island Cannabis Control Commission and serve as one of its three voting commissioners,” Oduyingbo said in the announcement. “I thank Governor Dan McKee for my appointment, and I am grateful for everyone who supported my candidacy. As a lifelong Rhode Islander and small business owner, I grasp the significance of this new and exciting opportunity to succeed which is now available to businesses operating in this industry. As a commissioner, I will use my business and legal experience to efficiently oversee the regulation, licensing, and control of cannabis and marijuana use in a manner that is cautious, transparent, equitable, and consistent with the laws of our State.”
The governor will now “send these three names to the Rhode Island Senate for Advice and Consent,” according to his office.
Recreational cannabis sales began in Rhode Island in December after McKee signed a measure legalizing pot for adults aged 21 and older last spring.
“This bill successfully incorporates our priorities of making sure cannabis legalization is equitable, controlled, and safe,” McKee said in a statement at the time. “In addition, it creates a process for the automatic expungement of past cannabis convictions. My Administration’s original legalization plan also included such a provision and I am thrilled that the Assembly recognized the importance of this particular issue. The end result is a win for our state both socially and economically.”
The adult-use cannabis market opened for business late last year after McKee announced that five existing medical cannabis dispensaries had been licensed to sell recreational pot as well.
“This milestone is the result of a carefully executed process to ensure that our state’s entry into this emerging market was done in a safe, controlled and equitable manner,” McKee said in the announcement. “It is also a win for our statewide economy and our strong, locally based cannabis supply chain, which consists of nearly 70 licensed cultivators, processors and manufacturers in addition to our licensed compassion centers. Finally, I thank the leadership of the General Assembly for passing this practical implementation framework in the Rhode Island Cannabis Act and I look forward to continuing our work together on this issue.”
More than half of cannabis consumers in states where weed is legal get their stuff at the store, according to newly released survey data.
The survey, which comes via New Frontier Data, found that “52% of current consumers say their primary source is a brick-and-mortar dispensary and only 6% say their primary source is a dealer” in states where adult-use marijuana is legal.
According to the survey, “43% of [all] current consumers say that a brick-and-mortar dispensary is their primary source of cannabis, compared to 34% in 2022,” while 10% “of current consumers say that their primary source is a dealer, down from 13% in 2022.”
“Interestingly, 29% of current consumers in illicit markets say that their primary source is also a brick-and-mortar dispensary compared to 17% who say they use dealers. This means that, even in illicit markets, consumers are travelling (sic) across state lines to obtain cannabis from a regulated source, as 42% of consumers say they have sourced cannabis from out of state,”Dr. Amanda Reiman, the chief knowledge officer at New Frontier Data, wrote in the survey’s analysis said.
Dozens of states, plus the District of Columbia, have legalized recreational cannabis for adults, a wave of normalization that has made the weed shopping experience much like a run to the drug store or supermarket.
As Reiman put it: “In many ways and in many places, cannabis has become another errand to take care of on the way home from work.”
“It is not just cannabis sourcing that is beginning to mimic traditional commerce, the reasons that consumers give for choosing a particular source are also meeting the mainstream. The top reasons consumers give for choosing a particular brick-and-mortar dispensary are product quality, product selection, price, knowledgeable staff, and convenient location. These are the top reasons people choose grocery stores (location, price, product selection, product quality, and friendly and knowledgeable staff),” Reiman wrote.
“One remnant of prohibition that comes out in the sourcing data is the reason that consumers give for choosing the same businesses over and over again, which is familiarity. This was cited by 58% of consumers as the reason they keep coming back to the same store. Almost 20 years ago, I conducted a study of medical cannabis patients and asked this question about their go-to medical cannabis dispensary. Familiarity was also the top reason given. During prohibition, acquiring cannabis was a process with rules. What you could say, what you couldn’t, how to properly pay and contact your dealer, all with the risk of arrest. Knowing exactly what the rules were and what was expected of you was a part of the process. In some ways, that anxiety has held on into legalization for many consumers, who, even though they are purchasing in a legal market, may still feel a sense of doing something wrong and needing to adhere to specific protocols. As the legal market matures, I expect that familiarity will become less important and that the other reasons given for loyalty (convenient location, knowledgeable staff, and product selection) will become more important to consumers.”
Reiman added: “The number of consumers sourcing from brick-and-mortar dispensaries will continue to rise as more legal markets come online, and even those in illicit markets will have greater access to legal stores. Like other areas of commerce, location, product selection, and staff will drive dispensary business, and consumers will relax into this new reality of cannabis as a consumer-packaged good.”
Few names loom as large over exotic American cannabis as Anna Willey. In a legal industry where jokes about quality have become the norm, not many companies have been able to float on top of that noise based on the quality of the product. Hers, California Artisanal Medicine or CAM, is like a battleship ripping through the waves of the decimated California industry.
While many struggle to sell middle-tier products as elite, Willey can barely feed the monster. She’s on the cusp of opening her 2,000-plus-light cathedral of hype in Sacramento, on top of a new facility she just opened in Long Beach. The facility will be her second in California’s capital, with the ground now breaking on a third. Willey jokes she’ll run back to her 500-lighter if she screws it up, but many insiders expect the facility to become one of America’s premier heat factories once it’s finished. Some even inquired with Willey about her helping their own production needs.
But how did a bubbly Indian-born retired software engineer climb to the highest heights of California’s cannabis industry with a stop on the Colorado throne along the way? It all started in what is currently the wildest frontier in legal cannabis, New York City.
Working Your Way Up
Willey arrived in NYC with her parents at the age of 6. At one point, her dad would leave mom in NYC while he headed north to get a degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one of the top engineering schools on the planet. Her mom would become a nurse. By sixth grade in 1985, Willey would become a courier for one of NYC’s famed old-school weed delivery services. She pointed to that moment as where her real cannabis adventure started, but before that, she had enjoyed the smell the first time she was around someone smoking.
“Back then, it was all about the service in New York City,” Willey told High Times. “To get into cannabis, you had to get a job delivering weed, and you needed to kind of work your way up the system.”
When she came home with the cash from her efforts, her parents’ conservative household took a no-questions-asked policy. She would work for the service for a few years. If you ordered cannabis from the service between 2nd and Gold and Murray Hill, Willey would show up right out of school with her Catholic schoolgirl uniform and 1.2 grams for $120 bucks. Willey said it sounds steep, but buyers had to say yes or they would get a visit from a large Puerto Rican man.
Her parents still turned a blind eye.
“I think that they thought it stopped for a little bit in college,” Willey said, smiling. “As all Indian people and children when they’re born, they tell you that you can be many different types of a doctor. You can just pick a type of doctor. So, obviously, I did not want to be a doctor.”
Growing & Coding
Willey noted her sister skipped the medical school plan too, but her mom still tells people she’s a pharmacist. By 10th grade, Willey was bodega hopping in Harlem and the Lower East Side looking for the newest issues of High Times. After graduating from college, Willey would move west to Colorado in 1998.
When she arrived, she immediately met a grower named John from Fort Collins. He offered to set her up in a grow house. There she would learn to grow. She laughed, noting how much easier it is in the modern era to get the info you need, “Nowadays, you just get on to YouTube. And it’s crazy, right?”
When she did get on the internet forums, she felt there was a ton of support. She was amazed by just how many people were open to helping her. With her background in tech, she also didn’t have any fears about covering her tracks as she searched for the answers to her growroom problems on sites that would eventually be shut down by the feds.
Nevertheless, her first round would not go to plan.
“All males,” Willey said. “And I’m talking about ripe ball sacks covering the plant. I kept posting to IC Mag and Overgrow like, ‘These are new strains.’ I thought I created a new strain.”
Willey noted that pollen stuck around for about a year and a half and caused a lot of headaches. The first strains she would work with included DJ Short’s Blueberry and Fort Collins Cough.
Through all this, Willey continued writing code for IBM and Computer Associates. It was the early beginnings of the move towards automation in as many sectors as possible. Willey’s STEM background from childhood through college would give her much more faith in technology than her peers back then. She applied this knowledge to the grow.
“So it was a huge breakthrough, and I was like, ‘Oh my god, I’m breaking through in technology,’ because I was one of the first people to do automated grows,” Willey said. “So everyone that I met would boast about hand watering and [was] also constantly talking about how they want to be there when the lights are on.”
Willey thought the idea of needing to be completely hands-on was dumb, and people needed to learn about timers. What if they got sick or had a flat tire on the way to the grow? There are a thousand reasons to have some redundancy when talking about getting your lights powered up on time.
During that era in Colorado, she would start growing in rockwool. Eventually, she would make the move to Hydroton and use it through 2009 before making the jump to an ebb-and-flow system with Hydroton.
While continuing to develop her skills, she would open Colorado’s third dispensary. Her first fully legal grow would be 30 lights, the next 150. She thought she was in heaven.
The next major factor in her rise came in 2011. She decided she was going to get her general contractor’s license.
“It took me two years. I worked under a bunch of subcontractors, mechanical, plumbing, electrical. l learned enough about those trades to actually get a general contractor license,” Willey said. “And then I was able to do my own builds. That’s when it was over. I had a 40,000-square-foot warehouse. I had 760 lights. I had three warehouses.”
Her weed started to take off. As demand increased, she started the ongoing quest of growing as much fire as possible that she’s on to this day. At the peak of her Colorado cultivation capacity she would have 1,250 lights.
“We would literally do it like New York City deli style,” Willey said. “When we ran out of weed that day, we were out of weed.”
The store would close early every day for three years. Every single day they ran out of weed, even as Willey expanded she just couldn’t keep up. Another thing helping push numbers was the fact hers was the first shop in Colorado offering half-eighths. This allowed people to mix and match more than other dispensaries. When Willey worked the counter herself, the half-eighths weighed a little heavy. The patients loved it.
Moving on from Magic Dust
In 2013 and 2014, she started plotting her move west. She was already getting a lot of her genetics from California.
“I was very aware of how much better California cannabis was; even five months old light deps were severely better than what I call the magic dust,” Willey said.
No matter how good Willey was at growing pot, it was never going to be able to compete with the cannabis being grown at sea level in California. Even to this day, indoor farms skirting the waster in the San Francisco Bay Area are considered among the best in the world.
Willey would eventually sell everything she owned. But as with much of her life, it all started on the forums. They were alive and well through the cannabis floods and droughts of the mid-2010s. As she continued to watch the landscape, it was very obvious to her that those with the heat were in the best shape. California was the land of the heat, and it was before the price crashes we’d start to see later in the decade.
When she arrived in California to start her conquests in 2018, she wanted to get on METRC as soon as possible. Her buildout ended up taking eight months, and everything was on the books. Her friends already here balked at the idea, but her first California runs were basically as compliant as they could be at that moment.
But how did she end up in Sacramento? In her early goings, she would attempt to get set up in Oakland. She quickly realized it was not the most friendly place for cannabis with everyone from the city council to the landlords lining up to milk the industry. But as she worked to fund the California move, one of the jobs she was doing was licensing work. Through that work, she would become familiar with just how friendly Sacramento is to cannabis businesses.
“I noticed it was the number one place that was super friendly to other people. I had a great connection with the Connected team, and Sacramento was celebrating Connected, giving them a store license, whatever they applied for,” Willey said of the observation. “So I was like, ‘OK, this town seems much friendlier.’”
There is an argument to be made that her decision to move to Sacramento has crafted one of the biggest cannabis companies to hit the top-shelf market following legalization. There was always going to be a boutique class of bougie top shelf selection for those who wanted to pay big money. When Willey hit Sacramento, it was the beginning of that kind of quality being normalized for everyone.
She laughed and noted it wasn’t that easy out the gate. When she went all-in on California and sold her last Colorado warehouse, she brought 19 OGs with her that nobody wanted. It was all good though! She found a guy in the desert with a Harvard business degree that would buy all this pot, but he quickly realized consumers couldn’t tell the difference between light deps and indoor, especially if they couldn’t look before they bought it. He ended up making the switch to pounds he could get for $850 as opposed to Willey’s indoor.
“He ditched me for deps in October,” Willey said. “It was brutal and hilarious at the same time.”
Eventually, Willey would get her hands on cuts more suited to Californians’ tastes. As soon as CAM flowers started hitting shelves, it was always priced at least $5 cheaper than things of comparable quality, sometimes even $15 bucks cheaper as others attempted to cash in on whatever hype had gotten them that far. Shelf by shelf, CAM began to dot California from north to south.
One of the reasons for that competitive price point was how much cheaper it was to operate in Sacramento compared to her initial potential home in Oakland.
“I got super lucky with my landlord in Sacramento,” Willey said. “It was still insanely expensive, $1.75 a square foot. But the building was good. We all had a good foundation and relatively good TPO [thermoplastic polyolefin] roofs. They already had some basic power, 800 to 1,000 amps. It had some good bones if you can say that about a building.”
Things were eventually going well. Someone offered to buy her out. But two days before making the deal she pulled out. She was destined to grow the heat for the masses, how could she stop now?
In the end, it would work out.
“Everybody talks about how we got all these investors and whatever. I got lucky and I got one partner and that’s all I really needed. And then one of my closest friends, a grower in Colorado at Grand LAX, Josh Granville, had already come up before, and he was, you know, doing his own thing.”
Easy as Apple Pie
Eventually, Willey got her hands on some Apple Pie. It was some kind of bastardized version of Apple Fritter that her friends at the kings of apple weed, Lumpy’s, had vetted as something close to the original Fritter but not exactly the same thing. This was also the strain that put CAM on my radar back in the day. It was the absolute top of the mountain. There is a strong argument to be made at the peak of apple terps hype a couple of years ago, the three most popular strains were CAM’s Apple Pie, Lumpy’s original Fritter phenos, and Alien Labs’s Atomic Apple. The trio firmly separated themselves from the pack.
She would send a box of that primo Apple Pie to Berner from Cookies. His lineup of dispensaries is now one of CAM’s biggest clients. Willey transitioned to all the doors that have opened for her over the years through her dedication to the flame and regardless of plumbing.
“My experience of being a woman in cannabis is that I’ve just been surrounded by older brothers, mentors, people that have embraced me and shown me so much love and respect,” Willey said. “I’m not here to tell people there is not sexism or misogyny inside the industry. I’m not here to say that. I’m just here to talk about my experience and my experience with all these people that are in cannabis that have moms and sisters and girlfriends, and whatever, like really treated me as such.”
Things would change a lot from those early runs. Gone were the Harvard MBAs that were flush with newly raised capital and ready to buy anything in a jar that tested half decent. Then came the consolidation of many companies. Those with the heat like Willey would be survivors, but it was nuts. She started seeing things like dehydrated nugs going through testing to make the THC numbers higher. She didn’t even realize for a bit you could shop around the same batch for the highest THC numbers since there are no standardized cannabis lab operating procedures (plans are set to change next year.).
“And it’s about to happen. The homogenization of the testing process is going to be revolutionary for cannabis in California. I really do believe that because you will finally be able to grow a lot of strains [that you can’t in a THC-driven market,]” Willey said.
She’s been sitting on cuts for years, waiting for the moment lab testing wouldn’t be as big a factor. About 80% of them are mother plants; the rest are in tissue culture.
We asked Willey if there was a moment where she knew her weed was doing better than most as the walls were caving in on the California industry. She explained it’s not about the hundreds of stores she finds herself in but the sell-through. That’s when she knows she is connecting with the shop’s clientele.
“The one thing I really want to convey is how lucky I am with how much love California has shown some small transplant,” Willey said. “I have the best team. I can’t like, I mean, I want like a whole segment of this conversation to be about how lucky I got.”
The Jamaican Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce recently spoke out in support of small-scale cannabis farmers. According to the Jamaica Observer, State Minister Dr. Norman Dunn, the Alternative Development Programme (ADP) is still viewed as one of the best ways to help smaller cannabis growers enter the legal industry.
“The ADP is a community-centered approach in which participating communities will be allowed to cultivate up to 10 acres of land [and] will be required to sell all of their outputs from the program to a licensed downstream buyer or authorized permit holders of the Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA),” Dunn said at a 4/20 event held at Island Village in Ocho Rios, St. Ann.
Alternatively, a Cultivator’s Transitional Special Permit could also help remove barriers of entry for cultivators. Dunn described the permit as “less rigid,” and would give cultivators an opportunity to temporarily grow legally while also raising money to send an official license application to the CLA. Through the “mother farm” concept, small-scale cultivators would be allowed to partner with an already licensed cultivator to grow cannabis and then sell it to the licensed party.
“Recently, the ministry hosted a meeting of several stakeholders within the licensed regime to confer on matters relating to the industry and chart a sustainable development of this important industry,” Dunn added. “We in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce continue to meet and engage stakeholders across Jamaica from within the various communities, in academia, medical research, businesses and across government… that will advance Jamaica’s distinctive cannabis industry.”
Other government representatives such as Olivia Grange, the Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, expressed the need for regulation and modernizing the cannabis industry. With the approach that Dunn mentioned, Grange believes that they can help remove the cannabis stigma, allowing the herb to “become the foundation of a new Jamaican industry with potential to make a major contribution to the national budget.”
According to Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, there are 128 small cultivators that would be able to benefit from the mother farm concept. In March, Jamaican Sen. Aubyn Hill explained that the goal is to allow the program to begin this month in April. “When I look across Jamaica … you have people with one acre, two acres, three acres, but they don’t have the working capital. The mother farm concept allows for a big investor,” the minister explained. “So, we’re finding ways to make sure we alleviate some of the problems. We’re looking at very real ways to develop medical cannabis growth in Jamaica.”
The development of the ADP dates back to 2017. In an interview with the Jamaica Observer, CLA chairperson Hyacinth Lightbourne expressed the necessity of supporting small farmers. “If traditional farmers are excluded, then one of the fundamental reasons for developing this industry would have failed, as the program is intended to provide a legal alternative for those who traditionally cultivate illicit crops,” Lightbourne said.
While Jamaican officials are working to help small cultivators, recent news reports from March show that the country recently granted a license to a company that plans to import cannabis from Canada. The decision rallied concern from officials such as CLA rear admiral Hardley Lewin regarding the nature of the new license. “I brought this to the attention of our members and the industry,” Lewin said. “And also to the CLA; who confirmed it. I made a lot of noise about it because I am very angry that a country that does not allow Jamaican imports or exports from Jamaica into their market could be granted permission to export to Jamaica.”
In response, Minister Hill shared that the imported Canadian cannabis is not available in Jamaica. “It’s a Jamaican company…They have to follow the rules which are in legislation…The ganja strain being imported is not available in Jamaica. The permit is granted depending on the license you have. Some people have license to grow, others to test and some to retail…” Hill stated, according to the Jamaica-Gleaner.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul on Tuesday launched a new statewide campaign to encourage consumers to purchase cannabis from the state’s regulated recreational marijuana market. New York legalized adult-use cannabis in 2021, and regulated sales of recreational marijuana began at the state’s first licensed dispensary in Manhattan in late December 2022.
“To bolster the public health and safety of all New Yorkers, we are providing them with information they need to make informed decisions and enjoy cannabis responsibly,” Hochul said in a statement from the governor’s office. “As we continue to build a healthier and more equitable cannabis market, I am proud to launch this important public education campaign to promote safer, legal purchases of cannabis from licensed dispensaries throughout our state.”
Campaign Launched In Time For 4/20
The new campaign, dubbed “Why Buy Legal New York,” came as the state’s limited number of adult-use cannabis retailers prepared for the legal industry’s first 4/20, the high holiday of weed culture. The initiative focuses on three points including protecting public health, promoting social equity and community reinvestments, and features licensed cannabis operators extolling the virtues of regulated marijuana businesses and their products.
“We are excited to launch this campaign to promote safe and legal purchases of cannabis in New York,” said Tremaine Wright, chairwoman of the New York Cannabis Control Board. “By supporting licensed dispensaries, consumers can be confident that they are getting safe and accurately labeled products while supporting their local communities.”
The mostly digital campaign will attempt to explain the potential risks associated with cannabis from the unregulated market, which does not require products to be lab tested for safety and potency. The ads in the campaign will also highlight how purchasing cannabis from the regulated market supports the state’s social and economic goals for communities across the state of New York. The initiative, which is targeted at cannabis consumers 21 years old, includes educational materials including “The Guide to Safer Cannabis Consumption” and information on how to find legal dispensaries in New York. The campaign’s materials and safe consumption tips are also available online.
“We want to make sure that New Yorkers are informed about the potential risks and benefits of using cannabis,” said Chris Alexander, executive director of the New York State Office of Cannabis Management. “Our goal is to empower consumers to make informed decisions and to ensure they have access to the safest products available. New York has some incredible dispensaries across the state, and I encourage cannabis consumers and the canna-curious to visit these shops and see for themselves.”
PSAs Feature Licensed Cannabis Operators
The Why Buy Legal New York campaign features licensed cannabis operators including Jasmine and King, cultivators focused on the community-centered and wellness properties of cannabis. Howard is a licensed processor focused on modern safety practices and education efforts to produce safer cannabis products, while Damien is a licensed retailer focused on social justice reform and community reinvestment, bringing over five years of experience as a business owner to New York’s regulated cannabis industry. And Eddie, another licensed processor, incorporates his experience from more than five generations of family farming to produce safer cannabis products for the regulated market.
Lyla Hunt, deputy director of public health and education campaigns, said that the Why Buy Legal New York initiative is “critical to educating New Yorkers about the importance of purchasing cannabis legally from licensed dispensaries.”
“These PSAs are designed to offer a striking contrast to the exaggerations and incorrect messaging so many experienced during the prohibition of cannabis. By emphasizing the health and safety benefits of buying legally, we hope to build trust in the regulated cannabis industry and encourage New Yorkers to make informed decisions regarding cannabis consumption,” added Hunt. “This campaign is also an opportunity to address historical harms and promote community reinvestment while providing valuable information about the regulated cannabis space. We are excited to launch this campaign and believe it will make a significant difference in the lives of New Yorkers, supporting a safer and more equitable cannabis industry for all and furthering New York State’s education first approach.”
Called “Good Grades,” the dispensary will also be the first legal cannabis store in the New York City borough of Queens.
“With the opening of Good Grades in Queens, we’re continuing to build on our progress to create a safe, regulated cannabis industry in New York,” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a press release on Monday. “New York is working to support entrepreneurs and ensure that consumers can purchase safe, legal products while supporting their communities.”
Hochul, the state’s first woman governor, has overseen the launch of the state’s regulated cannabis market. Her predecessor, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, signed the bill legalizing recreational marijuana in 2021.
The state formally launched the new marijuana market late last year with the opening of a dispensary in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan.
Good Grades will open this week as a “pop-up” store, according to the governor’s press release, and the business is supported by the New York State Social Equity Cannabis Investment Fund, which was a part of Hochul’s 2022-23 budget.
The fund “is a public-private limited partnership that will be formed to position social equity entrepreneurs to succeed in New York’s newly created adult use cannabis industry,” Hochul’s office says, and “will allow the state to invest in a private fund to finance the leasing and equipping of up to 150 conditional adult-use retail dispensaries in New York State to be operated by individuals who have been impacted by the inequitable enforcement of marijuana laws.”
The governor’s office said that, like other dispensaries backed by the fund, Good Grades opening as a pop-up presents “the opportunity to open on a short-term basis to fast-track sales, provide training opportunities for employees and start generating capital for their businesses.”
“After, they will close for final construction and then re-open on a long-term basis,” according to this week’s press release.
“I am thrilled to be opening the doors of Good Grades, the very first dispensary in Queens, New York,” said Good Grades owner Extasy James.
“We are incredibly passionate about providing greater access to cannabis and breaking down the barriers that prevent so many people, especially those from marginalized communities, from experiencing the benefits of this amazing plant. We understand firsthand the stigma that has been attached to cannabis for far too long, and we are eager to join the thriving cannabis community to help change that. Our dispensary is a welcoming and inclusive space where anyone can come to learn, explore, and find the products that are best suited to their unique needs.”
New York City opened its third legal dispensary last month––not to be confused with the illicit cannabis retailers that have blanketed all five boroughs in the last two years.
The first dispensary outside of NYC also opened to customers last month.
“With this expansion, more entrepreneurs will be able to participate in the first wave of this industry, allowing them to capitalize on the growing demand for cannabis products,” said Tremaine Wright, chair of the New York Cannabis Control Board. “As more businesses enter this market, the innovation and competition will increase, leading to better quality experiences for consumers. The expansion of New York’s cannabis market will benefit everyone involved in this exciting industry.”
The United Nations agency tasked with monitoring drug enforcement said in a recent report that non-medical (adult-use) cannabis legalization in some US states is a violation of international drug treaties established more than 60 years ago. In its 2022 annual report, the UN’s International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) wrote that America’s federal government isn’t complying with the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs by passively allowing states to legalize adult-use marijuana within their borders.
The INCB has regularly criticized countries that have allowed territories within their borders to legalize cannabis because of the obligations of member states under the 1961 Single Convention, according to a report from Marijuana Moment. But in its 2022 annual report released earlier this month, the independent and quasi-judicial monitoring body for the implementation of the United Nations’ international drug control conventions appeared to take aim at cannabis policy reforms at the state level in the US.
“In States with a federal structure, a special issue may arise with respect to whether the Federal Government may be held accountable if a federated entity implements legalization, which violates the conventions, while the Federal Government does not have the power to compel the federated entity to fulfill the treaty obligations,” the INCB wrote.
The INCB added that member states are required under the 1961 treaty to “give effect to and carry out the provisions of this Convention within their own territories,” even in nations with a federal system of government such as the United States. The convention states that “unless a different intention appears from the treaty or is otherwise established, a treaty is binding upon each party in respect of its entire territory.”
“The internal distribution of powers between the different levels of a State cannot be invoked as a justification for the failure to perform a treaty,” the INCB maintains.
INCB Offers Reasons to Maintain Prohibition
The agency offered several reasons for continuing the prohibition of cannabis under the 1961 convention, including the treaty’s view that cannabis is a highly addictive drug that is subject to abuse. The report also notes that legalizing the use of adult-use cannabis lessens the perception of risk and leads to higher rates of consumption.
“The most concerning effect of cannabis legalization is the likelihood of increased use, particularly among young people, according to estimated data,” the UN wrote in a statement about the INCB report. “In the United States, it has been shown that adolescents and young adults consume significantly more cannabis in federal states where cannabis has been legalized compared to other states where recreational use remains illegal. There is also evidence that general availability of legalized cannabis products lowers the perception of risk and of the negative consequences involved in using them.”
The report adds that policy reforms have failed to meet the objectives of states that have legalized adult-use cannabis, including the desire to reduce criminal activity and protect public safety. The agency noted the persistence of illicit markets in jurisdictions that have legalized adult-use cannabis, including Canada, Uruguay and parts of the US.
“Evidence suggests that cannabis legalization has not been successful in dissuading young people from using cannabis, and illicit markets persist,” said INCB president Jagjit Pavadia.
Jason Adelstone, an associate attorney at the cannabis law firm Vicente LLP, wrote in an article about the INCB report that the evidence cited by the agency doesn’t support its conclusions on the success of cannabis legalization, including data that show a significant reduction in the illicit market in jurisdictions that have ended the prohibition of adult-use marijuana. He also notes that the report is calling on member nations with jurisdictions that have legalized cannabis to prioritize INCB policy over their own laws.
“Basically, INCB is saying that no matter what the federal government’s constitutional limitations are, signatories with strong federalist systems, such as the US, must violate their constitution in favor of drug treaty requirements to ensure local jurisdiction comply with the drug treaties,” Adelstone wrote in an email to Cannabis Now.
Adelstone says the agency’s narrow interpretation of the 1961 convention requires member states that don’t have the authority to force their territories to comply with the requirements of the treaty to nonetheless take such action.
“This position is unworkable, incompatible with law and practicality and dangerous,” Adelstone continued. “If a signatory’s constitution prohibits the federal government from enforcing requirements on local jurisdictions, or its citizens, then the federal government will not, and should not, enforce such requirements. Pushing any other narrative is dangerous, risking the stability of constitutional governments.”
Despite the International Narcotics Control Board’s continued criticism of member states that have allowed adult-use cannabis legalization measures to take effect, the agency hasn’t assessed any penalties against nations that have allowed policies contrary to the 1961 convention.
Welcome to our weekly newsletter, TheCannadelics Sunday Edition, going out every Sunday morning at 11am est with the main headlines of the week. This week we look into Amanita Mushroom Tinctures, Psilocybin Cup, Cannabis DUI and more trending stories from the world of Cannabis and Psychedelics.
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The Cannadelics Sunday Edition: Amanita Mushroom Tinctures, Psilocybin Cup & Cannabis DUI (3/19/2023)
Welcome to the Cannadelics Sunday edition, going out every Sunday with the top trending stories of the week. This Sunday we have an great selection of items, as well as an exciting deal on legal cannabis and psycheelic products. Scroll down to learn more.
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This week we have a little bit of everything for you such as including coverage about the world’s first magic mushroom competition, a living PC made from mycelium, Amsterdam’s ban on public cannabis smoking, Amanita Mushroom tinctures and more. Scroll down for our most exciting industry stories!
With how may overdose deaths opioids have caused, it should come as no surprise that every state in the US has at least one active lawsuit against one of the many companies manufacturing these drugs. The Johnson & Johnson lawsuit is probably the most prolific though, as despite them refusing to admit any wrongdoing, they have still been ordered to pay out a lot of money for their misdeeds. But exactly how much will they have to cough up, and where does all the money go?
They say that behind every great man is an even greater woman. Many people in the psychedelics industry are familiar with the name Alexander Shulgin, a cutting-edge researcher from the mid 1900s who focused on utilizing MDMA in psychotherapy. But what about his wife, Ann Shulgin, who worked right alongside her husband and helped bring supporters to his cause?
There are a lot of variations of cannabis cups these days, with the High Times cannabis cup being the most popular and well-known. But as the psychedelic industry continues to grow, people are wondering if such substances can be judged in the same way as weed. Enter the Hyphae Psilocybin Cup, the world’s first magic mushroom competition.
When science and nature meet, you get as close to seeing magic as seemingly possible. Using a new age concept known as “wetware”, a team of researchers from the UK created a “living computer”, which utilizes a mushroom motherboard for power and data storage. The idea combines technology, mycology, and AI into what sounds like something out of a science fiction novel. But it’s not, this is real life, so let’s take a closer look at how it all works.
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Amsterdam, known for its liberal and progressive culture, has almost become synonymous with drug use. The local coffee shops that sell weed and magic truffles have been a draw to tourists from all over the world. However, this reputation has been under scrutiny from the Dutch establishment in recent years, with visitors seemingly coming to the beautiful city for all of the wrong reasons. In response, Amsterdam has decided to ban smoking cannabis on the red-light district streets.
Despite the name, gas station very little similarities with actual heroin. It’s not an opioid, but rather an antidepressant of the tricyclic class. It’s sold at gas stations and cornerstores in the US under the names Za Za, Tiana, Red Dawn, and others. It’s addictive, and possibly dangerous, although virtually no statistics exist. Some states are making laws against gas station heroin, but is this distracting from the bigger issue of opioid abuse?
When we think of a DUI, we tend to think of people driving drunk. It makes sense, as a huge number of vehicular accidents are indeed caused by drunk drivers. But as cannabis legalization sweeps the country, the topic of getting a DUI for using cannabis while driving has become of greater interest and importance. We know that smoking weed and driving is illegal, but is it really as dangerous as driving while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs?
One of the enigmas of cannabis use is that, although in many situations it’s used to alleviate digestive issues like nausea and vomiting, in some rare cases, it can actually cause it. The condition is known as cannabis hyperemesis syndrome, and it’s characterized by periods of intense vomiting following cannabis use. The exact cause is unknown though it’s believed to result from a desensitization of cannabinoid receptors. To date, there’s only one cure and that necessitates stopping all use of cannabis.
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Best, The Cannadelics team
*** Disclaimer: As the legality of cannabinoids and psychedelics changes between state to state, you should always check with your local authorities first.
Sales of legal cannabis in the United States are projected to grow by 14% in 2023, according to a recent report from Colorado-based cannabis industry market analysis firm BDSA. In an updated five-year global legal cannabis market forecast, the company reports that global spending on legal cannabis increased by 4.8% to $32 billion in 2022. BDSA projects that the global cannabis market will see a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.2% from 2022 to 2027, resulting in a total worldwide regulated cannabis market size of $59.6 billion by 2027.
The U.S. legal cannabis market has shown significant growth across the industry as more and more states legalize adult-use cannabis and medical marijuana. And while the industry’s growth slowed in 2022 in response to market conditions including rising inflation and economic uncertainty, BDSA expects the U.S. legal weed market to again show significant growth this year, projecting a 14% increase in the market in 2023.
“Legal cannabis spending slowed significantly in 2022 due to rapid price declines across all markets,” Roy Bingham, co-founder and CEO of BDSA, said in a statement from the company. “Despite this, our updated forecast predicts strong growth in the U.S. driven by developing markets, particularly the adult-use markets of Missouri, New Jersey and New York.”
Currently, 21 states have legalized cannabis for adults, while 37 states, the District of Columbia and three U.S. territories have passed laws to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana. Additionally, 11 states permit the use of low-THC cannabis formulations for medicinal purposes. Only Idaho and Nebraska continue to prohibit all forms of cannabis.
Some Mature Cannabis Markets Contracted In 2022
The U.S. cannabis market posted rapid growth during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic as lockdowns kept consumers home and dispensaries were designated as essential businesses in many states. But last year marked the first decline in overall cannabis spending in some mature cannabis markets in the United States. In the West, early cannabis policy reform adopters California, Colorado, Nevada and Oregon saw a combined drop in spending on legal adult-use cannabis of 16.5% in 2022, according to the updated report. BDSA expects most mature cannabis markets in the U.S. to return to positive growth in 2024, although more slowly through 2027 than in the years leading up to the pandemic.
Newer legal cannabis markets showed strong growth in 2022, despite the decline seen in more mature markets. BDSA also projects new legal adult-use cannabis markets to launch by 2027, predicting a start of legal sales in Maryland in 2024 and in Florida and Ohio in 2025. The launch of new recreational marijuana cannabis markets is also possible in Minnesota and Hawaii by 2027, BDSA notes, but the company does not expect to see federal cannabis legalization during the five-year forecast period.
Brian Vicente, founding partner of the cannabis law firm Vicente LLP, agreed that emerging markets will help fuel the growth of the legal cannabis industry in the upcoming years.
“The future remains bright for the cannabis industry in the United States. Despite a recent setback at the polls, with Oklahoma voters shooting down legalization this month, we are still seeing other domestic markets expand and commence sales,” Vicente wrote in an email. “This includes significant revenue growth in newly-legal cannabis markets like Missouri and New Jersey, and also emerging medical markets like Mississippi. With additional states like Florida and Ohio looking likely to legalize in the next several years, we can expect continued expansion in cannabis sales.”
By 2027, U.S. sales of adult-use cannabis are forecasted to contribute 78% of the total spending on legal cannabis worldwide, up from 64% in 2022. U.S. legal cannabis spending is expected to grow at a CAGR of 11.3%, from $26.1 billion in 2022 to $44.5 billion in 2027, with the industry’s growth driven primarily by the New York, Florida, New Jersey and California recreational marijuana markets.
Globally, cannabis markets outside the U.S. and Canada are forecast to grow at a CAGR of 40% to $9.5 billion in 2027, up from $1.8 billion in 2022. BDSA forecasts the Canadian market will see overall growth of 12% this year, increasing to a $5.7 billion market by 2027 at a CAGR of 6.3%. New adult-use markets in Germany and Mexico are expected to be the primary drivers of global growth, while existing limited medical cannabis programs are expected to expand, particularly in the European Union and Latin America.