Cannabis consumers spent more than $440,000 on the first day of legal weed sales in Massachusetts. A dozen CEOs of major cannabis companies either don’t consume marijuana or refused to talk about their own use. In New Jersey, legislative committees are scheduled to vote on marijuana legalization. Also: an unlicensed cannabis business in Canada collected more than six tons of food and 300 coats for local charities in exchange for free weed. 🌳
More than $440,000 spent on marijuana on the first day of legal sales. Cannabis consumers spent $440,011 on the first day of legal marijuana sales in the state. The sum was spent at the only two dispensaries that opened their doors last Tuesday. Taxing the products at 17 percent, the state made nearly $75,000 in marijuana tax revenue. The Boston Globe On the first Saturday of legal sales, customers waited in long lines that started forming hours before the dispensaries were even open. “Our expectations have been completely surpassed,” said the CEO of one dispensary in Leicester. The Boston Globe Regulators gave final approval to more than a dozen retailers. The Boston Globe Meanwhile, Boston reached a host community agreement with a recreational marijuana dispensary headed up by a former sheriff. The city’s mayor said it would likely open early next year and that he hopes “the taxation’s worth the human toll.” The Boston Herald Related: One of the state’s marijuana regulators talked about the need to legalize and regulate all drugs, not just marijuana. The Boston Globe
The CEOs of big cannabis companies that won’t even talk about their own cannabis use. A survey of 29 CEOs that helm the largest cannabis companies in North America found 17 of them that reported using marijuana themselves either recreationally or medically. Six CEOs said they did not use marijuana themselves and another six declined to comment “despite repeated assurances their responses will be kept anonymous.” The survey shows that “a significant number of CEOs who run these cannabis firms are abstaining from the drug or are not willing to come clean with their views on usage.” Can you imagine if the CEOs of alcohol companies refused to comment (even anonymously) about their own alcohol use? BNN Bloomberg
Utah lawmakers release medical cannabis legislation. State lawmakers have released the third and possibly final draft of the medical cannabis legislation, a compromise deal between supporters and opponents of the legalization ballot initiative. The latest version removes protections for medical marijuana patients who rent and also increases the number of medical cannabis “pharmacy” licenses. A legislative committee plans to hold a public hearing on the bill today. The Salt Lake Tribune The medical marijuana ballot initiative got 113,000 more votes than all Utah congressional candidates combined. KUTV “Whatever they come up with for the state dispensaries, I can’t imagine it will ever be as fun as the pot shops of Whidbey,” writes a columnist who splits his time between Utah and Washington state. “How many Utah legislators have ever tried marijuana? Would they even know anyone with an Illegal Smile?” The Salt Lake Tribune
Dozens of marijuana licenses in Oregon are at risk. State regulators found potential compliance violations in more than a quarter of outdoor cannabis cultivation sites. Out of the hundreds of farms that were inspected, 95 had discrepancies of some sort and 41 face losing their licenses. The most common deficiencies were: problems with security or surveillance, discrepancies between on-site products and Metrc data, and unrecorded harvests. The state saw an average compliance rate of 74 percent, with some regions like Salem doing better than others. The Bend region saw only 55 percent of growers in compliance. Marijuana Business Daily
Weed cooking shows are all the rage. Viceland’s Bong Appétit is coming back for a third season next year, and Netflix has invested in its own cannabis cooking show. But major networks are passing on cooking-with-cannabis content. Meanwhile, full cannabis-infused meals may be more suitable to the screen than to real life: “Achieving the correct dosage for each person at a marijuana dinner party is nearly impossible — one diner might literally require ten to twenty times as much THC as another.” Bong Appétit co-host Vanessa Lavorato says, “if I wasn’t on the show, it’s not how I would choose to be high… I would just smoke.” Rolling Stone
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Weed-sniffing dogs are retiring. When a state legalizes marijuana, narcotics dogs that have been trained to smell marijuana are retiring early. “State court rulings mean that Tulo’s keen nose for pot imperils his work on other drug cases.” Their replacements are being trained to smell other drugs, just minus the marijuana. In Colorado, an appeals court ruled that a man’s methamphetamine conviction should be overturned because the dog detection dog used to justify a search had previously been trained to sniff out cannabis, too. The pup’s “signal was no longer a reliable indicator of illegal activity. The court ruled that officers therefore had no legal grounds to search the truck.” While many police departments are adapting to such court rulings, others have “decided to keep their current dogs and take their chances in court.” The New York Times
Today in cannabis science… Cannabis researchers talked about the therapeutic promise of the drug, but emphasized how little we know about the complexity of the plant. news.com.au New research found that cannabis consumption does not appear to cause behavioral problems in young people. However, behavioral problems (i.e. skipping school and shoplifting) do seem to predict whether a young person uses marijuana. Marijuana Moment
Elsewhere in cannabis business news… A look at the young entrepreneurs behind Vera, who are aiming to grow commercial cannabis at scale without using tons of energy. Their 22,000-square-foot facility is fully automated and attempts to incorporate the benefits of both outdoor and indoor grows. Daily Camera French alcohol company Pernod Ricard is monitoring the effect of cannabis legalization on its bottom line. The company’s CEO said it would take 12 to 18 months to see whether “the legalization of cannabis will have an impact on the consumption of premium spirits.” Some of its competitors are investing in the legal cannabis industry in Canada. Reuters A 1 million-square-foot, $100 million marijuana campus in Massachusetts hopes to provide other licensed businesses with growing and processing services. Mass Live
Cannabis in Canada. A licensed producer that supplies the Ontario Cannabis Store is under fire for mold and bugs in its flowers. RedeCan recalled an entire strain of marijuana after customers posted photos of moldy weed online. Meanwhile, consumers also complained about finding bugs in their bud. The company says they are predatory mites that contribute to a “safer product.” City News Statistics Canada says that consumer spending on cannabis increased 1.1 percent in the third quarter, reaching $5.9 billion a year. “Nearly 84 per cent of purchases were illegal and for non-medical use, down from 98 per cent in mid-2014.” CTV News Master growers from the Netherlands are flocking to Canada, where their experience is in demand. Vice Alberta suspends cannabis retail licenses amid product shortages. The province says it has only received about 20 percent of the cannabis it has ordered since legal sales started. MarketWatch
Elsewhere around the world… Experts expect a “smooth ride” for marijuana legalization legislation in Mexico. Here’s a look at how the legalization bill would balance public health and commercial interests. Marijuana Business Daily Former Mexico president Felipe Calderón defended is approach to the drug war during his time in office, which saw unprecedented levels of violence. Vice News The National Legislative Assembly of Thailand approved a medical cannabis legalization bill on Friday. A vetting committee has been established and the NLA will deliberate the draft bill. The Nation It looks increasingly likely that the Australian Capital Territory will legalize cannabis for personal use. The Canberra Times Victoria, Australia could also become the first state in the country to legalize cannabis. news.com.au
‘Tis the season. Two weeks after getting raided, an unlicensed cannabis business in Windsor, Ontario was giving away marijuana in exchange for clothing and food donations. “This is what it’s all about at Compassion House,” said its owner and cannabis activist Leo Lucier. His business collected more than six tons of food and 300 coats over five days, which it is donating to local charities. “He’s doing a good thing here — he’s helping people out,” said a retired drug squad sergeant, who dropped off some canned food at the business. The former drug cop used to arrest Lucier regularly, but said that he is “not a big bad criminal.” Windsor Star
Word on the States
- In Colorado, marijuana laws are due for a rewrite, which could greatly expand access. Regulators issued an advisory about unapproved pesticides found in cannabis from Colorado Wellness Centers. The state awarded $2.7 million to research medical marijuana. Longmont welcomes its first recreational marijuana dispensary.
- In New Jersey, legislative committees are scheduled to vote on marijuana legalization legislation. The governor signed off on a hemp pilot program.
- In Michigan, the marijuana ballot initiative is set to be certified today. Two municipalities will stop prosecuting minor marijuana offenses.
- In North Dakota, advocates vow to try again to pass a legalization ballot initiative in 2020. A look at the challenges facing medical marijuana access.
- In New York, law enforcement officials are trying to prepare for the “potential trouble” of marijuana legalization.
- In Oregon, an advocacy group is pushing for allowing cannabis consumption cafes.
- In Maryland, medical marijuana sales are set to exceed expectations.
- In Minnesota, the incoming governor says it’s time to legalize marijuana.
- In Vermont, the governor’s marijuana panel is hosting a listening tour throughout the state.
- In Illinois, a state rep plans to introduce legalization legislation in 2019.
Word for Word
“There already exist trimming machines in the industry that can reduce or eliminate the need for hand-processing by weak, unreliable meatbag humans. The problem is that machine-trimmed flower often looks like a blind man on meth used a weed whacker to shear a flock of sheep. Only worse, because I don’t smoke sheep. (Anymore.) Massachusetts-based Bloom has assembled a team of geniuses in the not-at-all-frightening fields of military robotics, automation, and product development. For our sake, we should hope are using their combined powers for good, because this could pretty easily be turned into the first cannabis-related episode of Black Mirror. But it’s impressive and worth considering when the financial health of a licensed grower could turn on having an option to cut down on or even replace its workforce of human trimmers.” – Josh Jardine for The Portland Mercury
“[U.S. rep. Joe] Kennedy’s [marijuana] policy pivot could prove politically advantageous in the long-run. Though he hasn’t explicitly signaled any intention to run for higher office, he’s a young and ambitious lawmaker who some consider a viable future presidential candidate. Being out of step on cannabis—not just with his colleagues but also with 66 percent of the general public—could turn off reform-minded voters. To some, it’s no coincidence that Kennedy’s pro-legalization editorial ran on the same day that his home state of Massachusetts launched its legal adult-use marijuana market.” – Kyle Jaeger for Marijuana Moment